bOARD OF EDUCATION V. EARLS
The Issue before the court was that two high school sophomores Lindsay Earls and Daniel James along with their families challenged their schools drug testing policy as an unlawful search that violated student’s right to privacy. They alleged that their policy requiring students to consent to random urinalysis testing for drug use violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The student activities drug testing policy by Tecumseh, Ok school district requires all middle school and high school students to consent to urinalysis testing for drugs in order to participate in any extracurricular activity. Two Tecumseh high school students brought suit alleging that the policy violates the fourth amendment. Court appeals held that policy did violate the fourth amendment. The appellate court concluded that before imposing a suspicion less drug testing program, a school must demonstrate some identifiable drug abuse problem among a sufficient number of those tested, such that testing that group will actually redress its drug problem, which the school district failed to demonstrate.
Clarence Thomas was the Chief Justice when the case came before the court. The decision was five votes for the Board of Education and four votes against them. William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer voted majority. John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter and Ruth Ginsburg voted minority. The court ruled that the policy reasonably served the school districts important interest in detecting and preventing drug use among its students and is constitutional. They said that students in extracurricular activities had a diminished expectation of privacy and that the policy furthered an important interest of the school in preventing drug use among students. The court said the Board of Education’s method of obtaining urine samples and
Cited: BOARD OF EDUCATION v. EARLS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 09 April 2012. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2001/2001_01_332>. Http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/onlaw/earls.html