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Vernonia School Dist. 47J v. Acton

United States Supreme Court
515 U.S. 646 (1995)



In response to increases in drug use and disciplinary problems amongst the student population, Vernonia School District 47J (District) (defendant) implemented a drug testing policy. The purpose of the policy is to protect the health and safety of student athletes, because drug usage makes sports-related injuries more likely. Students participating in sports and their parents must consent to testing. All student athletes are tested at the beginning of the season and students are selected at random for additional testing each week. The test requires students to produce a urine sample while being monitored (from outside the stall for girls and from 12 feet away for boys). Students that test positive are placed in a drug assistance program or suspended from sports. Strict procedures are followed to maintain confidentiality, and the records are not turned over to police. James Acton (plaintiff) was not permitted to play football because his parents (plaintiffs) did not consent to drug testing. The plaintiffs filed suit and requested declaratory and injunctive relief barring enforcement of the policy. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether the policy violated the United States Constitution.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Dissent (O’Connor, J.)

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