October 23, 2012

Cases of Interest to the School Community 2001–2002 Term

Education Law

Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Potawatomie County v. Earls, No. 01-332

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold a school-district policy requiring all middle- and high-school students to consent to urinalysis drug testing in order to participate in any extracurricular activity.

Justice Thomas' opinion expands schools' drug-testing authority well beyond that announced in the court's 1995 decision in Vernonia School District v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646, which upheld a random drug-testing policy that was limited to student athletes. Many commentators believe the opinion implies that secondary schools may now conduct suspicionless urinalysis drug tests on every enrolled student.

Read Justice Thomas's Majority Opinion.

Read a Transcript of Oral Arguments (.pdf) in this case.

Read the Tenth Circuit's Opinion holding that the school's random drug-testing policy violates the Fourth Amendment.

Read the Supreme Court's 1995 opinion in Vernonia School District v. Acton upholding a random drug-testing policy for student athletes in the town of Vernonia, Ore.

Read Tecumseh, Okla.'s explanation of its position on its Town Web Site.

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