Should Students Who Participate In Extracurricular Activities Be Subjected To Random Drug Testing?

1499 words - 6 pages

Studies have shown that students who participate in extracurricular activities are less likely to consume drugs if they are subject to random drug testing. This way, a student's health can be monitored just as their education is. Conversely, random drug testing has continued to under go criticism from students, parents, and administrators. They argue that random drug testing infringes on their constitutional rights. However, random drug testing should be protected by the Fourth and the Fourteenth Amendment.The Fourth Amendment mandates that federal actors not subject individuals to unreasonable searches and seizures, allowing them to maintain their bodily, personal, and professional integrity (McCray 387). By incorporation, the Fourteenth Amendment extends the Fourth Amendment's edict to guarantee the same rights against state actors, state actors includes public school officials (McCray 387). When the public school requires the mandatory collection of urine or other body specimens in drug testing programs, the Supreme Court has consistently held that the programs constitute searches within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment (McCray 387-426). Therefore, random drug testing of student who participates in extracurricular activities is with the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment protections.Recently, The U.S Supreme Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment permitted a school policy that prevented students from participating in interscholastic sports unless they agree to random drug testing. In the case of Vernonia v. Acton, James Acton, who was a seventh grader during the 1991-92 school year, applied to be on the football team. He was given a drug-test consent form for him and his parents to sign. This was done for every student trying out for sports. No one suspected James of using drugs. However, he and his parents refused to sign the form and he was then suspended from interscholastic athletics. The Actons sued the school district. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court ruled against the Actons, stating that students have a reduced expectation of privacy and should expect intrusions on their normal rights and privileges when they choose to participate in high school athletics. The Court used a balancing test. It weighed the students' privacy interests against the interests of the school district in providing a drug-free environment. The Court also pointed out that athletes regularly change clothes in front of each other and can expect to have less privacy.The facts of Vernonia school district case, as set forth by the Supreme Court's opinion, was particularly important because the Court relied heavily on the facts of this drug-testing controversy when it fashioned its decision (Roberts 191). In the 1980s, the Vernonia schools suffered a substantial increase in student drug use as well as a rise in disciplinary problems, suspensions and expulsions (Roberts 191). The school system provided special classes and speakers and also tried drug-sniffing canines to...

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