My high school never drug tested the past three years and now they are forcing me to take one. Is this legal?

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Question: My high school never had drug testing program during my first three years playing football. This season, the district announced that they would implement drug testing, and if I don’t submit to a drug test I will not be allowed to play. Isn’t this illegal?

Response: Unfortunately, it is perfectly legal for the school district to implement a drug testing program for athletes in the school district. Although claims have been made that this would violate a student’s Fourth Amendment right against illegal searches and seizures, Supreme Court precedent has held otherwise. While the court did recognize that such drug testing would be considered a search under the 4th Amendment, the court would balance the reasonableness of the search against the interest asserted by the school district in conducting the drug testing.

The court did see the privacy interest in forcing student to submit to urine tests, but it believed that such privacy interest did not outweigh the overriding interest of the school district in deterring and protecting student-athletes from drug abuse. A key point was that the testing done was for typical illegal drugs, and not drugs used for medical conditions. Further, the court noted that there this was a narrow testing of student athletes, which it sought to protect, and not a drug testing plan for all students which could be deemed illegal.

Answered by Bert Gonzalez

Resource: (Sample of Student Drug Testing Guidelines based on Supreme Court rulings)

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