BOE of independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v Earles 536 US 822

In 2002, the Tecumseh, Oklahoma school district ordered their student in middle and high school to get a urinalysis test for drugs in order for their students to participate in extracurricular activities. This act was called The Students Activities Drug Testing Policy. Two student by the name of Lindsay Earls and Daniel James seemed to believe that this policy has been consistent with the Fourth Amendment.

James Thomas gave the majority opinion on the case. The votes were 5 to 4 with the BOE having 5 vote and Earls having 4. The policy was then found reasonable for the school district and it was also found to be constitutional. Justice Breyers says that the Vernonia School District 47 v Acton governs this case. Justin O'Connor and Justice Gansburg believed that the case was undecided and believes that the petitioner's program failed under the approach of the case.

The district court noticed the situation with Daniel James and saw that he was unable to sue them because of his failing grades. Lindsay Earls also brought attention to the fourth amendment and how the drug testing policy violated that.

Not only does this policy violate the fourth and fourteenth amendment, but Lindsay and Daniel argued that the school district failed to realized that the policy does not address any problems and it doesn't really benefit the school or the students, which is true. Drug testing should only be used on individuals who seem suspicious because it is not fair to the students who actually don't do drugs. They also argue that the students that the children who participate in already have to have doctors invade their privacy when the get a physical.

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 warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be searched". This case is consistent with he fourth amendment. Random drug testing is like searching a home or car without a warrant and it invades people's privacy. This case also ties into the fourteenth amendment which states "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the united states; nor shall any state deprive any persons of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws". Tecumseh, Oklahoma also violated that amendment by coming up with the drug testing act. In the supreme court, the officials voted 5 to 4 which then ruled random drug searches to middle and high school students illegal. This case has not been superceded but it has been preceded by an older case, Vernonia School District 47 v Acton, 515 US 646.


Created with images by karen_neoh - "Courtroom" • krisnelson - "My blog entry on the Fourth Amendment"

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