San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


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In 1995 the United States Supreme Court decided that it was constitutional to drug test student athletes. Seven years later, the Court held that it was constitutional to drug test students engaged in extracurricular activities. As a result of these rulings, school districts throughout the United States adopted policies to drug test these students. The recent Bush administration supported and encouraged these programs with significant federal grants. Consequently students turned to the state courts to attack the legality of these drug testing programs. Under their respective state constitutions, the Supreme Courts of Indiana and New Jersey upheld the programs, while the Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania and Washington struck down the programs as unconstitutional. This article examines how the California Courts would review and address the issue of the constitutionality of student drug testing under the California Constitution. Part II summarizes the decisions of the United States Supreme Court on student drug testing. Part III examines state law on student drug testing. Part IV focuses on student drug testing in California, addressing the state’s history of, and current status with respect to, student drug testing. The Article then examines provisions of the California Constitution which apply to the subject: article I, section 1, the right to privacy; and article I, section 13, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The Article discusses California judicial decisions on these provisions and then analyzes whether the drug testing of students engaged in athletics and/or extracurricular activities is constitutional under the California Constitution. Part V offers a conclusion on the issue.

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