Court To Clarify Student Drug Test Rules 

Court To Clarify Student Drug Test Rules 
Posted by FoM on November 08, 2001 at 10:47:03 PT
By Lois Romano, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
The Supreme Court agreed today to decide whether school districts must show that their schools have a serious issue with narcotics before arbitrarily testing students for drugs.By agreeing to hear the Oklahoma case, the high court is expected to clarify how schools can use drug screening to maintain safe institutions. In 1995, the court endorsed the testing of athletes in an Oregon case, where drug use among the athletes was blamed for discipline issues, but the court did not address blanket testing.
In the Oklahoma case, an appeals court ruled that a school district in a small city 40 miles east of Oklahoma City violated the constitutional prohibition on unreasonable searches when it required random tests of students involved in extracurricular activities such as the choir, academic team, Future Farmers of America and Future Homemakers of America. The notion was that students in particular groups--such as athletic teams--represent the school publicly. "We thought this would give them an incentive to say no if they wanted to participate," said Tim Wilsie, the Tecumseh superintendent of schools.Officials from Tecumseh tested about 500 students from 1998 to 2000 and found a number to be positive for marijuana and painkillers, Wilsie confirmed today. Wilsie said the school board adopted the policy because it believed it had a growing drug problem.The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit to stop the practice in 1999 on behalf of three students."If there is no valid claims for concerns for safety, it becomes an empty act and therefore violates the fourth amendment," said Micheal Salem, an attorney for the ACLU who worked on the case in lower court. "These kids were considered envoys. But the school's public image is not a sufficient basis for engaging in blanket testing."The federal district court threw out the case, but the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower court saying that the school district had no valid justification to randomly test because it had few problems. One of the more serious incidents noted was a choir member who was concealing alcohol in a cough syrup bottle. The appellate court struck down the Tecumseh drug policy, and the school district appeal to the Supreme Court."The issue presented is of major importance . . . to all public schools in the nation which are responsible for the safety of the students under their supervision on a daily basis and must address drug use which threatens their safety," the school told the court in urging it to accept the appeal.Wilsie said that the school district has had strong support from parents for the testing. "Many were very disappointed when we had to stop it because of the 10 Circuit's ruling," he said. The Oklahoma case is Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v. Earls, 01-332.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Lois Romano, Washington Post Staff WriterPublished: Thursday, November 8, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Washington Post Company Contact: letterstoed washpost.comWebsite: http://www.washingtonpost.comRelated Article & Web Site:ACLU Court To Rule on Drug Tests News Drug Testing Archives 
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Comment #1 posted by Avenger on November 08, 2001 at 13:56:16 PT:
Pe Pe Testing is OK?
I want to know how many PARENTS of the Tecumseh, Oklahoma school district are willing to submit to a piss test TOMORROW???????So ... one of "the more serious infractions" involved ALCOHOL????????Makes sense, don't it?Find alcohol, test for pot ...Stupis Ass Oklahomans ........
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