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Drug testing upheld

By By Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week clears the way for Hartselle City Schools to implement a drug-testing policy for some of its students.
The Supreme Court ruled last Thursday that public schools can require random drug testing of students who take part in extra curricular activities.
The committee is currently in the process of determining if Hartselle's School System needs a random drug testing policy and if so, how such as policy would be carried out and enforced. The committee had been waiting on the Supreme Court's decision to see if it held that drug testing of some students was constitutional.
The Supreme Court heard the case of two Tecumseh, Okla. students who wanted to participate in extra-curricular activities, but felt the required drug test violated their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizures.
Five of the nine justices disagreed with the students, saying schools do have a right to drug test some students.
"Because this (random search) policy reasonable serves the school district's important interest in detecting and preventing drug abuse among its students, we hold that it is constitutional," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for himself, Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Anthonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer.
The Tecumseh drug policy that was upheld by the Supreme Court has several elements which have been considered for Hartselle's policy, including:
Last week's decision follows a decision in a 1995 Oregon case, where the court permitted random testing for student athletes. That definition was later expanded to cover all students participating in extra-curricular activities, including band, and academic clubs, such as math team or Scholar's Bowl. The court has not upheld drug testing for those not involved in extra-curricular activities or student bodies as a whole.