Researched by Teen Editorial Board Member Galen Price
In 1995 Rush County School System in Indiana required random drug testing
of any student involved in any extra-curricular activities (band, student council,
etc.). Matthew Todd and his parents felt this was a violation of his 4th amendment rights
and sued the school system in federal court.
What did each side say?
Todd's lawyers argued that drug testing was a search, and so student were protected
from them by the 4th amendment, which states "all persons will be free from searches and
seizures without probable cause."
The school district argued that students give up some rights while at school, and that
this policy was protected by a previous Supreme Court ruling which stated that student
athletes could be randomly drug tested.
When at school, school rules are law. They should be able to drug test anyone, anytime.
Students do have rights at school, but extra-curricular activities are a privilege. Schools are allowed to make any rules they want about participation in after-school activities.
Maybe the school shouldn't be doing the testing, but if you aren't on drugs, what are you afraid of?
It's ok to test athletes, because they could possibly hurt others or cheat by using illegal drugs, but not test everyone doing any extra-curricular activity.
Schools should not have a power that even police don't have. To search anyone without probable cause is unconstitutional, whether they be athletes, band members, or the guy that shows up right before 1st period and leaves right after the last bell.
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November 19, 2005
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