Power Point presentation - University of Washington School of Law

Search & Seizure in
Drug Testing in Public Schools
Opinion Poll
Drug testing should be allowed in schools
Strongly Agree
Strongly Disagree
Opinion Poll
Drug testing should be allowed in schools
Test everyone
Random Testing
Test Suspicious
Never Test
What’s the Law?
• Federal law:
• The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution
• “Special needs” searches are reasonable even without a warrant
• The US Supreme Court has said that drug testing of student athletes
falls within this “special needs” exception because schools need to
protect students’ well-being.
The Supreme Court later said that schools can drug test ANY student participating
in extracurricular activities.
What’s the Law Here?
• Washington Law
• Article I, Section 7 of the WA Constitution: “No person shall be disturbed
in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law”
• WA Supreme Court: NO “special needs” exception to the warrant
requirement for random drug testing in schools
Who Got It Right?
• Do schools have a “special need” to keep drugs out of schools?
• Or should schools be limited to testing students they have reason
to suspect might be using drugs?
The Fourth Amendment in Schools
• Students do NOT give up their Fourth Amendment rights when
they come to school
• But the government can more easily justify a search of the
student’s person or possessions at school
• The US Supreme Court in New Jersey v. T.L.O said: a school can search a
student’s person or possessions if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that
the student has contraband items.
Key Question: Reasonableness
• Is the item that the school is searching for something extremely
• How reliable is the information?
• How badly was the person’s privacy invaded?
• The Supreme Court said in Safford v. Redding that it was NOT reasonable
for a school to make a 13 year old student undress so she could be
searched for Tylenol based on an unconfirmed tip.