Nebraska High School Announces Mandatory Student Drug Tests
The invasive new program commencing this year stems from a Supreme Court decision that deemed drug testing in schools constitutional.
A private Catholic school in Omaha has become the latest school to enforce mandatory drug testing for all of their students. Starting in the upcoming school year, Creighton Preparatory School will take hair samples from all students and test them for alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, and other substances. Using drugs or alcohol during the summer months will still result in enrollment in a support program for the first offense, a review for disciplinary action with a second offense, and dismissal for a third offense.
"We believe this policy can positively influence the culture of our students in a way that complements the efforts of parents to dissuade their children from drug and alcohol use," said Creighton Prep President John Naatz. However, similar policies have been present at the school’s athletic department since 2008; any student competing on a team is required to give consent to random drug tests.
The U.S. Supreme Court previously ruled that public schools may also test students for drugs without violating privacy rights if they are participating in extracurricular activities such as cheerleading or band. The tests may be given without any suspicion of drug use and cover all students in grades 7-12. "Because this policy reasonably serves the school district's important interest in detecting and preventing drug use among its students, we hold that it is constitutional," said Justice Clarence Thomas.
The narrow 5-4 ruling divided the Supreme Court, with Ruth Bader Ginsburg calling the program “perverse” because it targets a population of students who are least likely to be tempted to use drugs.