Supreme Court Okays Random Drug Testing in Schools

  Supreme Court Okays Random Drug Testing in Schools

Posted by CN Staff on June 27, 2002 at 09:48:57 PT
By Melanie Hunter,  

The Supreme Court Thursday ruled that public high school students who participate in extracurricular activities and sports may be subjected to random drug tests, because the schools' interest in combating drug use outweighs an individual's right to privacy. The 5-4 decision comes in a case involving a former Oklahoma high school honor student who competed on an academic team and was a choir member. Lindsay Earls, a self-described "goodie-two shoes," tested negative for drugs, but sued saying the tests violated the Constitution's guarantee against unreasonable searches.
The American Civil Liberties Union, who represented Earls, argued that the school board could not prove that drugs were a big problem at the school.The Pottawatomie County school system had considered testing all students, but settled instead on testing those participating in extracurricular activities, because they voluntarily represent the school and therefore had a lower expectation of privacy than students at large. Random drug tests for student athletes had previously been allowed. "We find that testing students who participate in extracurricular activities is a reasonably effective means of addressing the school district's legitimate concerns in preventing, deterring and detecting drug use," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority. Also ruling with Thomas were Chief Justice William H. Renquist and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen Breyer. The court did not rule in favor of random drug testing for all students, regardless of participation in after-school activities. The dissenting opinion, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, said: "The particular testing program upheld today is not reasonable, it is capricious, even perverse." In a 1995 case, the court allowed random urine tests for student athletes. Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and David Souter said they disagreed with the 1995 ruling and Thursday's ruling.The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which filed a brief arguing against random drug testing, was not not happy with today's ruling."The schools should be educating students, not policing them," said Donna Shea, NORML's legal director. She said schools should be looking for ways to get students into extra-curricular activities, not looking for ways to keep them out. Rep. John Peterson (R-Pa.), a member of the Speaker's Task Force for a Drug Free America, applauded the court ruling."With this landmark decision, the Supreme Court has given schools the green light to use what may be the most effective tool for making our schools drug free - random drug testing," he said.Peterson attended oral arguments before the Supreme Court in March where he and a coalition of family groups, school districts and the Justice Department filed "friend of the court" briefs on behalf of Tecumseh High School in Oklahoma."This is not just a victory for an Oklahoma school district," he said. "This is a victory for families and communities all across America. Today, drug dealers lost one of the most dangerous weapons in their arsenal - the ability to persuade kids that there are no consequences for trying drugs."The probability of getting caught is reason enough for many good kids to say no to drugs," Peterson added."Until today, the ACLU has been able to hold out the threat of a lawsuit and scare school boards out of implementing drug testing policies," he said. "With the Supreme Court decision, and with funding now available to schools for drug testing, school boards across he country can begin to make our schools safer for every child."The Family Research Council welcomed the ruling, saying the court "has opened the door for school administrators to better create safe learning environments for their students.""The goal of student drug testing is not to punish students - it is to prevent drug use, which in turn will protect the students' health as well as ensure a more orderly classroom experience," said FRC Vice President for Policy Robert Maginnis.Note: 1st Add: Includes additional background on the case, as well as comments by the Family Research Council and Rep. John Peterson (R-Pa.).Newshawk: Nicholas Thimmesch II - http://www.norml.orgSource: CNSNews.comAuthor: Melanie Hunter, Deputy Managing EditorPublished: June 27, 2002Copyright: 1998-2002 Cybercast News ServiceWebsite: shogenson cnsnews.comRelated Articles & Web Sites:ACLU Pupils Face Random Drug Testing The Supreme Court Vs Teens

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Comment #30 posted by FoM on June 28, 2002 at 11:20:56 PT
Politically Incorrect Swan Song is Tonight
Posted on Fri, Jun. 28, 2002
Charlie McCollum
Mercury News
It's pretty clear that Bill Maher thinks ABC and its parent company, Disney, never got the joke.
``I guess they thought all those years ago when I said `Politically Incorrect' was the name of the show that I was kidding,'' Maher said in a recent interview. ``But I wasn't kidding, and I'm proud of that. I'd rather lose the show than who I am.''
And losing the show -- ``Politically Incorrect'' -- is precisely what happened to the contrary, iconoclastic, sharp-tongued Maher. Tonight's installment of his political talkfest (12:05 a.m. Saturday, Ch. 7) will be his last after four seasons on Comedy Central and five on ABC.
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Comment #29 posted by Patrick on June 28, 2002 at 06:34:02 PT

Ode to piss
A river of yellow
Flows into a plastic cup
Sealed with my initials and loveI am no poet
So bear with me,
I stained for ten minutes 
To piss this testI want nothing more
Than to feed my family
Why must I piss so clean
To earn a simple paycheck?Better yet,
Why must my kid,
Piss to join the math club
Or play tuba at halftime?America home sweet home
Land of the pee test
And home of the moronic courts that overturn every majority vote.

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Comment #28 posted by FoM on June 27, 2002 at 23:03:25 PT

From my point of view this is how I see it. I don't have a child anymore and I look at issues differently. When you are raising a child you look for the boggie man at every corner and try to protect your child from harm. That's why when someone says but what about the children you get many head nods. The reality is that not facing reality is the worst thing you can do for your child. Think it through. Understand the repercussions for your children of drug testing laws, smoking pot, drinking etc. It takes time to be a parent and it can be very painful and it can be hard to be honest because of your own mistakes but when you have a child it should be your child to raise as you see fit. Your way might not be my way or vice versa but we all should be allowed to do it our way because who is so wise as to say that we are wrong?
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Comment #27 posted by BGreen on June 27, 2002 at 22:50:13 PT

I know what you mean, ff
When I was a kid my life was ruled by adults. Now, even though I'm almost 40 without any kids of my own, the little buggers have ruled my life and threatened my freedom for years.I like kids, and I'm all for protecting them, but the idea that we have to lock up thousands of non-violent adults to protect that annoying "one child" everybody keeps talking about is ludicrous.
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Comment #26 posted by freedom fighter on June 27, 2002 at 22:19:26 PT

Ain't nobody 's mommy!
Sure I would agree no kid should do drugs but hey, I am sorry but I do not care anymore what your kid put in his mouth or nose or vein. Sorry...I got one son. Just a kid himself.. Normal like anybody... Bit active than normal. But it was your government who said, "Your son is abnormal. He must take ritalin(sp) or he cannot get his education."I never agreed to this. So what right do I have? What right do you have to tell any one's child what not or what druggggggggg to take. What right did your government had to force my son to take a drug while tellin him not to do drugsssss?Does it take a Village to kill a child or two in order to save the entire town? I ain't your kid's mommmy. This pissed me off..Sorry!ff
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Comment #25 posted by Industrial Strength on June 27, 2002 at 22:09:35 PT

Even though
that show could really get on my nerves sometimes (apparantly that's half of his intentions) it will be missed. Everything Moore said was correct. I always wished that show was an hour long. I like how he likened the Todd Mccormick thing to Stalin. I think it would be great if he cast a few stones tomorrow night, but they would probably just cut it out even if he did.
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on June 27, 2002 at 22:03:28 PT

Bill Maher
I'm going to miss Politically Incorrect. I depend on PI for my news. It is so sad they canceled the program. Tonight's show was full of electricity. It was great and Michael Moore spoke the truth. I like that. Here's Bill Maher's New Official Web Site with a message board.http://www.billmaher.tvHe could have talked about anything the last few minutes and he talked about Medical Marijuana, Prop 215 and mostly his friend, Todd McCormick. God Bless him for talking about Todd when he could have talked about any of a number of things. His heart is in the right place.
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on June 27, 2002 at 21:50:22 PT

My husband enlisted in the Army when he was 17. His Mom had to sign for him and was off to Vietnam when he was 18. He did 2 tours. I didn't know him then. He took lots of pictures and it was an eye opener for me to learn what it was like for a soldier in Nam.
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Comment #22 posted by Zero_G on June 27, 2002 at 21:28:53 PT

The year I became eligible I had a lottery number in the 300's. (thank providence) I suspect many here only know the lottery as a game. It was life or death for many of us.My high school chemistry teacher, who was my academic advisor, and coach for the science fair (I tried to duplicate primordial conditions leading to the advent of organic chemistry and life, working off of Miller et, al.) had recently returned from combat. He was an amazingly gifted teacher, who had been to hell and back, and tried to convey the reality of that experience to those of us who would stay long after class had ended to listen.Thank you Mr. Naliboff. I hope students today have access to educators such as you.

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Comment #21 posted by FoM on June 27, 2002 at 21:07:27 PT

Industrial Strength
Oh yes my hair was pulled often and the nuns carried rulers but all in all they scared us more then hurt anyone. I meant at my home with my family.I won't miss PI tonight or tomorrow. I just saw Michael Moore will be on tonight and Arianna Huffington tomorrow night but also Ann Coulter, Michelle Phillips and I can't remember the fourth guest.
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Comment #20 posted by Industrial Strength on June 27, 2002 at 20:57:38 PT

I was under the impression that all catholic schools employed corpral punishment...Does that vary or were you just talking about the home?Completely off the topic, Michael Moore is on PI tonight.
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on June 27, 2002 at 20:30:17 PT

That was very true. We worried about the war. It touched everyone. You looked death in the face and knew that some of the young men wouldn't come back and just having the draft was a very scary thing for them. Knowing where you would more then likely wind up was in a jungle for a reason that no one was sure why was a sobering way to live for young adults back then.Industrial Strength I wasn't spanked but I was told what was expected and I didn't have a choice. I knew when I just had to do what was told. I didn't like it but I listened and grumbled but listened.
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Comment #18 posted by Zero_G on June 27, 2002 at 20:11:27 PT

silly ramble
When I was in high school, Vietnam was afire, and so was our class.I've been smokin' weed since I was 14.Piss tests in school, we'ed a walked out enmass, and probably pissed on the building on the way out.Compared to the real death that was surrounding us, our friends sent off and coming home dead, that threat would have been laughable.Oh, by the way, I was an honor student...
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Comment #17 posted by Industrial Strength on June 27, 2002 at 19:52:26 PT

my opinion
And you might think im way off, but I think the rise of disrespect mirrors the fall of spanking. Obviously you cannot really spank teenagers, but it carries over from when they were kids. The lessons carry over, I mean.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on June 27, 2002 at 19:42:45 PT

Industrial Strength
I'm 54 so times were different. I went to catholic school and respect for our elders was taught. Things have changed but why have they changed? I didn't agree with my parents while I was growing up but what teenager does? It's part of growing up to think your parents don't know what they're talking about otherwise children wouldn't grow up and leave home and start an independent life but still I don't know why children feel that they should have the same rights as an adult. That's what seems different to me. My family did as much as they could for me but I never felt they had too do all they did. I just appreciated what they did.
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Comment #15 posted by Industrial Strength on June 27, 2002 at 19:27:11 PT

That's good that you listened to your parents...If all kids were like that, there would be no problem. Gathering from some remarks you have made in other post's, im making the assumption that you are of the older school (you seem far from old, but just same dates that spring up lead me to that conclusion)... It seems alot of kids are getting worse and worse, not respecting what their parents have to say one little bit.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on June 27, 2002 at 19:02:59 PT

Industrial Strength
I thought about your question about doing drugs or drinking under age and I was afraid my parents would have been furious with me. They told me I could drink when I was 21 but I better not touch any that was in our home or anywhere else. I did drink a few times and that was all. It wasn't worth being afraid of my parents and they said they trusted me.
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Comment #13 posted by Industrial Strength on June 27, 2002 at 18:38:57 PT

just to clarify
Im not in favour of kids taking drugs or anything. However, lets face facts...I'm betting alot of people who post here smoked pot and did alot of other things while they were still developing. I am one. Alcohol is far, far worse for developing minds but you won't get kicked off the football team (or worse) for getting pissed drunk on the weekends.
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Comment #12 posted by Industrial Strength on June 27, 2002 at 18:35:31 PT

uh oh
You really shouldn't have added the "I need to" part. Why should children not have the same rights adults have? How is an 18 year old really that different from a 16 year old? We are not talking about little kids here. Too many people quote Bill Maher for my liking. The reason it's a bad thing, in my opinion, is because it just gives them even more power.
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Comment #11 posted by Phasetheory on June 27, 2002 at 18:25:29 PT

GOOD MOVE, honestly...
I think this is a good move. Don't get me wrong, I'm in strong support of ending the drug war, but this is different. I think we who believe that drugs should be legalized should support this.Why? Because we agree with people opposed to us that children shouldn't use drugs, just adults. Also remember that children don't have the same rights as adults.Don't you all agree that children shouldn't use drugs, because they can be harmful to youth who are still developing mentally and physically.Well I need to now go get high, but I'm an adult so it's ok!Peace
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Comment #10 posted by freedom fighter on June 27, 2002 at 18:24:57 PT

Hey kids, wanna a break or two?
Crush up Lemon balm leaves and mix it with water..Start spraying everywhere in schools...Alot of doggies...Alot of pissesAlllll so negative....Alot of pissed off parents....ff
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Comment #9 posted by schmeff on June 27, 2002 at 17:51:51 PT

Have they added another straw to the camel's back?
This is perfect, coming the day after media headlines: Fed. Court Declares Pledge of Allegiance Unconstitutional.I'm quite the fan of the 9th Circuit, and agree with them on this one. The Pledge was perfectly fine before "under God" was added, and will continue to be perfectly fine with the phrase removed.But I think the typical sheep, with little appreciation of facts or nuance will simply remember "yesterday they declared the Pledge unconstitutional, and today they OK'd drug testing for school kids." I have to wonder if it doesn't put us one step closer to tearing everything down and starting over.As E_J has pointed out repeatedly, in the midst of ongoing revelations that the clergy has been sexually abusing our kids for decades, who are we, as parents, going to trust to watch our kids pee?I can forsee three possible reactions to this decision by the typical teenager:Facing the risk of detection, the student chooses not to/quits taking drugs. This reaction assumes that telling a teenager not to do something means s/he won't do it. (WAKE UP MOM...CUT BACK ON THE VALIUM!!!) I quit masturbating as a teenager when my Mom told me to quit, honest Mom. Least likely scenario.The student chooses not to participate in sports or extra-curricular activities. I predict student participation will drop in direct relation to the agressiveness of the testing procedures.Students will continue to participate, while employing aggressive strategies to avoid detection. Most likley scenario. As others have remarked, this will simply result in a tendency to graduate to potentially more harmful methods of intoxication.Like 'huffing' cleaning solvents.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 27, 2002 at 14:17:53 PT

News Brief from United Press International
Association Praises Drug Test Ruling 

Published 6/27/2002

WASHINGTON, June 27 (UPI) -- The National School Boards Association praised Thursday's Supreme Court decision on student drug testing.

A narrow court majority said random drug tests on students participating in extracurricular activities is constitutional.

"It is crucial that local school boards be able to exercise their own good judgment about what strategies to use to fight drug use in their schools," said Mossi White, president of the association.

"While each community will make its own decisions on strategies to create safe and secure learning environments," he added, "school boards will now be able to create the policies they and the community believe will best address the problem of student drug abuse." 

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, better known as NORML, called the decision unreasonable.

"Schools should educate, not police students," said Donna Shea, NORML's legal director. "In reaching this decision, the court supports a school district's erection of obstacles to kids participating in extracurricular activities, and also concludes that kids have a much lower expectation of privacy."
Copyright: 2002 United Press International
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Comment #7 posted by Industrial Strength on June 27, 2002 at 13:28:38 PT

Why shouldnt they pass a bill allowing them to randomly drug test ANYONE they like? I wonder how far away that is? Lehder is right, this will just result in more blow/e/booze abuse. Great.
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Comment #6 posted by Lehder on June 27, 2002 at 13:13:22 PT

more drug war fodder
"With this landmark decision, the Supreme Court has given schools the green light to use
   what may be the most effective tool for making our schools drug free - random drug
   testing," he said.
It's given schools the green light to transform a few pot smokers into many cocaine and alcohol abusers. Just what the drug war ordered, more fodder for the more intrusive and more rigorously prosecuted drug wars of our Bush future, more profits for the wealthy elite. Welcome to the Third World, kids, and I know you're gonna like it because you'll all line up with your pants down just like your moms and dads do.
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Comment #3 posted by TroutMask on June 27, 2002 at 10:18:34 PT

I'm sort of surprised that the vote was even as close as it was. I wouldn't have been surprised if the vote was unanimous FOR testing.-TM
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Comment #2 posted by darwin on June 27, 2002 at 10:09:59 PT

Why is it I hear daily rants on how the schools are going broke and can't afford textbooks and are cutting programs. Yet, they can afford to go to court over their right to waste money on the pee industry?
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Comment #1 posted by WolfgangWylde on June 27, 2002 at 10:06:42 PT

Not surprising...
The ONLY time the Supreme Court has ever rejected drug testing was when it was to be applied to legislators and judges. Go figure.
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