Board Of Education Of Independent School Disctrict No.



In the fall of 1998, the School District adopted the Student Activities Drug Testing Policy (Policy), which requires all middle and high school students to consent to drug testing in order to participate in any extracurricular activity. Under the Policy, students are required to take a drug test before participating in an extracurricular activity, must submit to random drug testing while participating in that activity, and must agree to be tested at any time upon reasonable suspicion. The urinalysis tests are designed to detect only the use of illegal drugs, including amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, and barbituates, not medical conditions or the presence of authorized prescription medications. Earls (P) was a member of the show choir, the marching band, the Academic Team, and the National Honor Society. James (P1) sought to participate in the Academic Team.1 Together with their parents, Ps brought a 42 U. S. C. §1983 action against the School District, challenging the Policy both on its face and as applied to their participation in extracurricular activities. They alleged that the Policy violates the Fourth Amendment as incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment and requested injunctive and declarative relief. They also argued that the School District failed to identify a special need for testing students who participate in extracurricular activities and that the 'Drug Testing Policy neither addresses a proven problem nor promises to bring any benefit to students or the school.' Applying the principles articulated in Vernonia School Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 U. S. 646 (1995), in which we upheld the suspicionless drug testing of school athletes, the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma rejected Ps' claim that the Policy was unconstitutional and granted summary judgment to the School District. The court noted that 'special needs' exist in the public school context and that, although the School District did 'not show a drug problem of epidemic proportions,' there was a history of drug abuse starting in 1970 that presented 'legitimate cause for concern.' The District Court also held that the Policy was effective because 'it can scarcely be disputed that the drug problem among the student body is effectively addressed by making sure that the large number of students participating in competitive, extracurricular activities do not use drugs.' The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed, holding that the Policy violated the Fourth Amendment. The Court of Appeals agreed with the District Court that the Policy must be evaluated in the 'unique environment of the school setting,' but reached a different conclusion as to the Policy's constitutionality. Before imposing a suspicionless drug testing program, the Court of Appeals concluded that a school 'must demonstrate that there is some identifiable drug abuse problem among a sufficient number of those subject to the testing, such that testing that group of students will actually redress its drug problem.'