Pubdate: Thu, 21 Mar 2002
Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)
Copyright: 2002 Chattanooga Publishing Co.
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Youth)


No one seems to claim it is "an unconstitutional search" to require school 
students to be checked to prevent guns from being taken into schools. But 
with drugs a most serious threat to youngsters, the U.S. Supreme Court this 
week heard arguments that will require the justices to make a tough 
decision on checking students for drug use.

In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 upholding a rule in Veronia, Ore., 
that required student athletes to pass drug tests. The current case 
involves the requirement by Independent School District No. 92 of 
Pottawatomie County, Okla., that students seeking to take part in 
extracurricular activities -- such as band, chorus and Future Homemakers of 
America -- be drug-free.

Oddly in this case, kids who don't aspire to extracurricular activities -- 
possibly more likely to be drug users -- are not tested. Arguments before 
the court broadened to involve questions about both limited and general 
testing. Do tests of students violate the Constitution's Fourth Amendment 
protection against "unreasonable" searches?

Justice Stephen G. Breyer noted, "No one is arrested."

It does not seem to be unreasonable or unconstitutional for all students, 
not just those in some activities, to be required to comport themselves 
legally. Banning drug use from schools, like banning guns, should be 
allowed, with general or random tests to be sure.
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