Vernonia School District V. Acton

Satisfactory Essays
On June 26, 1995, the Supreme Court decided on the case Vernonia School District v. Acton as to whether or not random drug testing of high school athletes violated the reasonable search and seizure clause of the Fourth Amendment. During the 1980's and 1990's there was a large increase in drug use. The courts decision was a strong interpretation of the Fourth Amendment and the right decision upon drug testing high school athletes.

Between 1985 and 1989 the Vernonia School District began to see a marked increase in disciplinary problems, drug use by students, athletic injuries, use of drugs by athletes and a student body preoccupation with the drug culture. The school district adopted a policy requiring students who participated in interscholastic athletics to sign a consent of both routine and random drug testing.

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. He was denied participation because he and his parents refused to sign the testing consent forms. The Actons filled suit on the grounds that it violated the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The federal district court ruled in the school district's favor, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision, stating that although the district had laid the foundation for a drug policy, the interest was not so compelling as to justify a random testing program. The time between the 1980's and 1990's America saw a dramatic increase in drug use which spread through nearly every community in the nation. Drugs had not previously been a major problem in Vernonia schools. In the mid-to-late 1980's, however, teachers and administrators observed an increase in drug use. Students began to speak out about their attraction to the drug culture, and boasted that there was nothing the school could do about it.

The Supreme Court had to decide on the question of, does random drug testing of high school athletes violate the reasonable search and seizure clause of the Fourth Amendment? According to the Fourth Amendment, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
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