Drug Testing At School

opd85f_2.thmRANDOM, UNANNOUNCED STUDENT DRUG TESTING HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE US SUPREME COURT IN 1995 AND 2002. Accordingly, drug testing is used by many school districts in all states because courts have approved them as not violating a student’s privacy rights under the 4th Amendment. To test an individual student for drugs school officials must be in possession of facts adding up to “reasonable suspicion” the student has violated either a school rule or a criminal law prohibiting possession, use or sale of drugs at school. On the other hand, there is no “individual reasonable suspicion” requirement for a school district to conduct an unannounced RANDOM drug testing for all students who are engaged in “extra-curricular activities.” The activities include participation in sports, band, school sponsored clubs, school trips, graduation ceremonies and even students parking a car in the school lot. This NO SUSPICION based drug testing is not a violation of a student’s privacy rights. The procedure usually involves requiring students to provide urine samples which are tested for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP and opiates.
WHY DO SCHOOLS CONDUCT THESE RANDOM TESTS? School districts adopting random drug testing wan to decrease drug abuse among student in two ways. First, schools hope random no-suspicion drug testing will serve as a deterrent and give students a reason to resist “peer pressure” to use drugs. Secondly, drug testing can identify students who have stated using drugs. This makes it possible for “interventions” to take place. A school can suspend a student and require him or her to complete a drug treatment program. The student gets counseling and follow-up testing as a condition of being readmitted to school. Even if he student is “BUSTED” for drug possession, use or sale and referred to Juvenile Court, the judges often put students on probation to complete drug treatment programs. Whether the student is suspended by the school or prosecuted in court, the goal is to help students avoid drugs. The primary purpose of drug testing is not to punish students but to help them.
DRUG AWARENESS AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS. In addition to suspending and prosecuting students for drugs at school, most school districts use drug awareness, prevention and education programs. Many schools feel they get a “bigger bang for the buck” with educational programs. Most school districts use both approaches.

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