Random vs. Suspicion-Based Drug Testing in the Public Schools — A Surprising Civil Liberties Dilemma

22 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2013  

Martin H. Belsky

University of Akron - School of Law

Date Written: 2002

Abstract

The Tecumseh School District had a policy that all students who wished to participate in extracurricular activities that involved some sort of competition had to agree to drug testing before the competition and then randomly thereafter. Those selected for accusatory drug testing might be perceived to be wearing a "badge of shame" and be subject to the arbitrary whim of an administrator. Vernonia involved a rule requiring drug testing as a condition for participation in extracurricular competitive sports. In Earls, the Tecumseh School District adopted a "Student Activities Drug Testing Policy" that required all students who wished to participate in any competitive extracurricular activity to sign a written consent "agreeing to submit to drug testing prior to participating in the activity, randomly during the year while participating, and at any time while participating upon reasonable suspicion. Relying on Vernonia, the majority, it would appear reluctantly, felt that it had to assume a special need here as this involved testing in a public school context. The issue then is the balancing of the "government's (in this case, the school's) interest in conducting the particular search in question against the privacy interests of those subject to the search.

Keywords: Tecumseh School District, drug testing, public school, random drug testing, suspicion-based drug testing

JEL Classification: K1, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Belsky, Martin H., Random vs. Suspicion-Based Drug Testing in the Public Schools — A Surprising Civil Liberties Dilemma (2002). Oklahoma City University Law Review, Vol. 27, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2208606

Martin H. Belsky (Contact Author)

University of Akron - School of Law ( email )

150 University Ave.
Akron, OH 44325-2901
United States

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