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Supreme court case vernonia v. action research papers

June 26, 1995 Motivated by the discovery that athletes were leaders in the student drug culture and concern that drug use increases the risk supreme court case vernonia v. action research papers sports-related injury, petitioner school district District adopted the Student Athlete Drug Policy Policywhich authorizes random urinalysis drug testing of students who participate in its athletics programs. Respondent Acton was denied participation in his school's football program when he and his parents also respondents refused to consent to the testing.

They then filed this suit, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on the grounds that the Policy violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and the Oregon Constitution. The Policy is constitutional under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Railway Labor Executives' Assn. Where there was no clear practice, either approving or disapproving the type of search at issue, at the time the constitutional provision was enacted, the "reasonableness" of a search is judged by balancing the intrusion on the individual's Fourth Amendment interests against the promotion of legitimate governmental interests.

Here, the subjects of the Policy are children who have been committed to the temporary custody of the State as schoolmaster; in Page II that capacity, the State may exercise a degree of supreme court case vernonia v. action research papers and control greater than it could exercise over free adults. The requirements that public school children submit to physical examinations and be vaccinated indicate that they have a lesser privacy expectation with regard supreme court case vernonia v.

action research papers medical examinations and procedures than the general population. Student athletes have even less of a legitimate privacy expectation, for an element of communal undress is inherent in athletic participation, and athletes are subject to preseason physical exams and rules regulating their conduct.

In addition, the tests look only for standard drugs, not medical conditions, and the results are released to a limited group. The importance of deterring drug use by all this Nation's schoolchildren cannot be doubted. Moreover, the Policy is directed more narrowly to drug use by supreme court case vernonia v. action research papers, where the risk of physical harm to the user and other players is high.

The District Court's conclusion that the District's concerns were immediate is not clearly erroneous, and it is self-evident that a drug problem largely caused by athletes, and of particular danger to athletes, is effectively addressed by ensuring that athletes do not use drugs. The Fourth Amendment does not require that the "least intrusive" search be conducted, so respondents' argument that the drug testing could be based on suspicion of drug use, if true, would not be fatal; and that alternative entails its own substantial difficulties.

The Student Athlete Drug Policy adopted by School District 47J in the town of Vernonia, Oregon, authorizes random urinalysis drug testing of students who participate in the District's school athletics programs. We granted certiorari to decide whether this violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. As elsewhere in small-town America, school sports play a prominent role in the town's life, and student athletes are admired in their schools and in the community.

Drugs had not been a major problem in Vernonia schools. In the mid-to-late 1980's, however, teachers and administrators observed a sharp increase in drug use. Students began to speak out about their attraction to the drug culture, and to boast that there was nothing the school could do about it.

Along with more drugs came more disciplinary problems. Students became increasingly rude during class; outbursts of profane language became common. Not only were student supreme court case vernonia v. action research papers included among the drug users but, as the District Court found, athletes were the leaders of the drug culture. This caused the District's administrators particular concern, since drug use increases the risk of sports-related injury.

Expert testimony at the trial confirmed the deleterious effects of drugs on motivation, memory, judgment, reaction, coordination, and performance. The high school football and wrestling coach witnessed a severe sternum injury suffered by a wrestler, and various omissions of safety procedures and misexecutions by supreme court case vernonia v.

action research papers players, all attributable in his belief to the effects of drug use. Initially, the District responded to the drug problem by offering special classes, speakers, and presentations designed to deter drug use. It even brought in a specially trained dog to detect drugs, but the drug problem persisted. According to the District Court: They held a parent "input night" to discuss the proposed Student Athlete Drug Policy Policyand the parents in attendance gave their unanimous approval.

The school board approved the Policy for implementation in the fall of 1989. Its expressed purpose is to prevent student athletes from using drugs, to protect their health and safety, and to provide drug users with assistance programs.

Supreme Court Verdict in Vernonia School District v. Acton

B The Policy applies to all students participating in interscholastic athletics. Students wishing to play sports must sign a form consenting to the testing and must obtain the written consent of their parents. Athletes are tested at the beginning of the season for their sport. Those selected are notified and tested that same day, if possible. The student to be tested completes a supreme court case vernonia v.

action research papers control form which bears an assigned number. Prescription medications that the student is taking must be identified by providing supreme court case vernonia v. action research papers copy of the prescription or a doctor's authorization. Each boy selected produces a sample at a urinal, remaining fully clothed with his back to the monitor, who stands approximately 12 to 15 feet behind the student.

Monitors may though do not always watch the student while he produces the sample, and they listen for normal sounds of urination. Girls produce samples in an enclosed bathroom stall, so that they can be heard but not observed. After the sample is produced, it is given to the monitor, who checks it for temperature and tampering and then transfers it to a vial.

Other drugs, such as LSD, may be screened at the request of the District, but the identity of a particular student does not determine which drugs will be tested. The laboratory's procedures are 99.

The District follows strict procedures regarding the chain of custody and access to test results. The laboratory does not know the identity of the students whose samples it tests. It is authorized to mail written test reports only to the superintendent and to provide test results to District personnel by telephone only after the requesting official recites a code confirming his authority. Only the superintendent, principals, vice-principals, and athletic directors have access to test results, and the results are not kept for more than one year.

If a sample tests positive, a second test is administered as soon as possible to confirm the result. If the second test is negative, no further action is taken. If the second test is positive, the athlete's parents are notified, and the school principal convenes a meeting with the student and his parents, at which the student is given the option of 1 participating for six weeks in an assistance program that includes weekly urinalysis, or 2 suffering suspension from athletics for the remainder of the current season and the next athletic season.

The student is then retested supreme court case vernonia v. action research papers to the start of the next athletic season for which he or she is eligible. The Policy states that a second offense results in automatic imposition of option 2 ; a third offense in suspension for the remainder of the current season and the next two athletic seasons.

C In the fall of 1991, respondent James Acton, then a seventh-grader, signed up to play football at one of the District's grade schools. The Actons filed suit, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief from enforcement of the Policy on the grounds that it violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article I, 9, of the Oregon Constitution.

II The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that the Federal Government shall not violate "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, supreme court case vernonia v. action research papers effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. United States, 364 U. See also Treasury Employees v. Von Raab, 489 U. As the text of the Fourth Amendment indicates, the ultimate measure of the constitutionality of a governmental search is "reasonableness.

Where a search is undertaken by supreme court case vernonia v. action research papers enforcement officials to discover evidence of criminal wrongdoing, this Court has said that reasonableness generally requires the obtaining of a judicial warrant, Skinner, supra, at 619.

Warrants cannot be issued, of course, without the showing of probable cause required by the Warrant Clause. But a warrant is not required to establish the reasonableness of all government searches; and when a warrant is not required and the Warrant Clause therefore not applicableprobable cause is not invariably required either.

A search unsupported by probable cause can be constitutional, we have said, "when special needs, beyond supreme court case vernonia v. action research papers normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable-cause requirement impracticable. We have found such "special needs" to exist in the public-school context. The school search we approved in T. We have upheld suspicionless searches and seizures to conduct drug testing of railroad personnel involved in train accidents, see Skinner, supra; to conduct random drug testing of federal customs officers who carry arms or are involved in drug interdiction, see Von Raab, supra; and to maintain automobile checkpoints looking for illegal immigrants and contraband, Martinez-Fuerte, supra, and drunk drivers, Michigan Dept.

III The first factor to be considered is the nature of the privacy interest upon which the search here at issue intrudes. The Fourth Amendment does not protect all subjective expectations of privacy, but only those that society recognizes as "legitimate. What expectations are legitimate varies, of course, with context, id. In addition, the legitimacy of certain privacy expectations vis-a-vis the State may depend upon the individual's legal relationship with the State.

Central, in our view, to the present case is the fact that the subjects of the Policy are 1 children, who 2 have been committed to the temporary custody of the State as schoolmaster. Traditionally at common law, and still today, unemancipated minors lack some of the most fundamental rights of self-determination - including even the right of liberty in its narrow sense, i. They are subject, even as to their physical freedom, to the control of their parents or guardians.

When parents place minor children in private schools for their education, the teachers and administrators of those schools stand in loco parentis over the children entrusted to them. In fact, the tutor or schoolmaster is the very prototype of that status.

As Blackstone describes it, a parent "may. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 441 1769. While we do not, of course, suggest that public schools as a general matter have such a degree of control over children as to give rise to a constitutional "duty to protect," see DeShaney v. Thus, while children assuredly do not "shed their constitutional rights. Fourth Amendment rights, no less than First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, are different in public schools than elsewhere; the "reasonableness" inquiry cannot disregard the schools' custodial and tutelary responsibility for children.

For their own good and that of their classmates, public school children are routinely required to submit to various physical examinations, and to be vaccinated against various diseases. Supreme court case vernonia v. action research papers to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most public schools "provide vision and hearing screening and dental and dermatological checks.

Others also mandate scoliosis screening at appropriate grade levels. A Guide for Health Professionals 2 1987. In the 1991-1992 school year, all 50 States required public-school students to be vaccinated against diphtheria, measles, rubella, and polio. Particularly with regard to medical examinations and procedures, therefore, "students within the school environment have a lesser expectation of privacy than members of supreme court case vernonia v.

action research papers population generally. Legitimate privacy expectations are even less with regard to student athletes. School sports are not for the bashful. They require "suiting up" before each practice or event, and showering and changing afterwards.

Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton

Public school locker rooms, the usual sites for these activities, are not notable for the privacy they afford. The locker rooms in Vernonia are typical: Tippecanoe County School Corp. There is an additional respect in which school athletes have a reduced expectation of privacy. By choosing to "go out for the team," they voluntarily subject themselves to a degree of regulation even higher than that imposed on students generally.

In Vernonia's public schools, they must submit to a preseason physical exam James testified that his included the giving of a urine sample, App. Somewhat like adults who choose to participate in a "closely regulated industry," students who voluntarily participate in school athletics have reason to expect intrusions upon normal rights and privileges, supreme court case vernonia v. action research papers privacy.

See Skinner, 489 U.

VERNONIA SCHOOL DIST. 47J v. ACTON

IV Having considered the scope of the legitimate expectation of privacy at issue here, we turn next to the character of the intrusion that is complained of.