Drug testing all students would violate the Fourth Amendment
Drug testing students not involved in school sports in Ohio should be unconstitutional. Many schools have random drug testing policies in place for athletes. Some schools have in place, or are looking into, drug testing for nonsports-related activities including driving to school and non-sports related clubs.
Randomly testing students uninvolved in school sports under suspicion of drug use is unconstitutional because the Fourth Amendment states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…” The Ohio education system does not acknowledge children have rights, because they are forcing children who exhibit no signs of drug use to urinate in a cup or submit hair samples.
Students who test negative for illegal substances do not prove random drug testing is a successful deterrent. It only proves that those students have not consumed illegal drugs recently.
According to drugabuse.gov, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of schools testing all students (not just athletes) for illegal drug use in June of 2002. Although the U.S. Supreme Court allowed testing of all students, it is in the Constitution that people have the right to be protected against unreasonable search and seizure. Children should be awarded the same protections, and therefore should not be submitted to drug testing, random or otherwise, without probable cause.
In a recent Vindicator story, Boardman schools Superintendent Frank Lazzeri comments on drug policies: “We are trying to help kids make better decisions. We believe that there is not just a local drug problem, there is a national drug problem.” With illegal substances increasingly easier to obtain, parents should take on more responsibility, making sure their children understand the dangers of illegal drugs. It should not be left up to the public or private school system to take over a parent’s job.
Logically, drug testing in sports makes sense due to possible cheating; however testing students uninvolved in sports who are not suspected of illegal substance abuse makes no sense.
Laura McDonough, New Castle, Pa.