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16 Crim. Just. Pol'y Rev. 3 (2005)

handle is hein.journals/cjpr16 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Public Student Drug Testing and

the Special Needs Doctrine in

Board of Education v. Earls:

Just Getting Tougher

Tom Tad Hughes
University of Louisville

   The Supreme Court recently decided the case of Board of Education v. Earls (2002).
   The case affirmed the constitutionality of drug testingforpublic school students who
   participate in extracurricular activities. The case represents an expansion of the use
   of drug testing in public schools and may prove to be the impetus for increased drug
   testing in public school systems around the United States. Moreover the constitu-
   tional basisfor the case outcome represents aprotean doctrine applicable to a variety
   of quasi-law enforcement situations. This article examines the current nature of drug
   testing in the United States. Next, the legal doctrines and precedents that led to the
   Earls case are explored. Finally, the case opinion and its policy implications are

   Keywords: drug testing; Fourth Amendment; public schools

The Supreme Court decided the case of Board of Education v. Earls in
2002. This case found the practice of drug testing public school students
engaged in extracurricular activities to be constitutional. The Earls case
represents a major expansion of the ability of public school officials to
employ drug testing to address concerns of drug use in public schools. The
constitutional doctrine relied on by the Court in this case-the special
needs doctrine-is a relatively new method of construing the Fourth
Amendment. Moreover, the doctrine's protean nature allows substantial
governmental action in quasi-law enforcement situations. Such a malleable
doctrine with a potential application to a wide variety of situations will
likely continue to grow. The Earls case may also provide the impetus for
increased use of drug testing for public schools around the country. More

Criminal Justice Policy Review, Volume 16, Number 1, March 2005 3-17
DOI: 10.1177/0887403403261277
© 2005 Sage Publications

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