Schools may conduct random drug testing on your student athlete.
The Fourth Amendment of the Washington State and United States Constitutions do not prohibit random drug testing of student athletes.
Parents of athletes who attend public schools often feel that random drug testing of their children is intrusive and violates the State and Federal Constitutions. This is not the case, at least as interpreted by the Courts. The United States Supreme Court and the Washington Supreme Court have allowed suspicionless searches under certain circumstances. They have found that random testing of student athletes fits these certain circumstances. To get around the requirement for a warrant, the Courts have applied the “special needs” exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement. This exception allows the government (or the school) to conduct a warrantless, suspicionless search focused on a certain class of individuals (athletes) if “special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable cause requirement impracticable.”
The Courts agree – the school may drug test your student athlete
It sounds like a bad deal, but that is the way the Courts have ruled. By participating in sports in a public school, an athlete and their parents must understand that school administrators can ask for a drug test even when there is no suspicion of any wrong doing. If your child chooses to play sports, understand that they will need to jump through hoops not imposed on the other students.
At the Witt Law Group, our attorneys have been handling search and seizure type criminal defense cases for over a decade. If you have questions about random drug testing of your athlete, call our Bremerton or Gig Harbor office. We can be reached after hours and on weekends. Best of luck in the new school year!