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Copyright (c) 2007 Jefferson Law Book Company, Division of Anderson Publishing Co.
Journal of Law & Education

CHALK TALK: Random Drug Testing in Public Schools

July, 2007

36 J.L. & Educ. 453





A recent study conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) led to the following conclusion: "[p]arents ... have no idea how drug and alcohol infested their teens' world is and are utterly unrealistic about their own conduct with respect to their children." 1 This drug and alcohol use by teens has a strong tendency to disrupt the learning environment in school settings. 2 Therefore, some public schools have resorted to random drug testing as a means of eliminating or at least curbing the problem.

The Supreme Court has twice heard federal constitutional challenges on random drug testing in schools on the ground that such testing violates students' Fourth Amendment rights. 3 The Court has ruled in favor of the school districts in both cases. 4 The House of Representatives, in its most recent session, approved a bill known as the "Student and Teacher Safety Act of 2006," 5 which not only codifies the Supreme Court decisions, but mandates that schools have a policy in place to ensure that reasonable and permissible drug searches are conducted. If the Senate approves this bill, it will become law and will have an effect on every school in the nation. This article will examine the teenage drug problem, evaluate the effectiveness and constitutionality of random drug testing in schools, describe the implications that the Student and Teacher Safety Act of 2006 would have if it becomes law, and review expert advice for a school ...
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