Board of Ed. of Independent School Dist. No. 92 of Pottawatomie Cty. v. Earls, 536 U. S. 822 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 822 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

mal disciplinary procedures [that are] needed.' " Vernonia, supra, at 653 (quoting T. L. O., supra, at 340-341).

Given that the School District's Policy is not in any way related to the conduct of criminal investigations, see Part II-B, infra, respondents do not contend that the School District requires probable cause before testing students for drug use. Respondents instead argue that drug testing must be based at least on some level of individualized suspicion. See Brief for Respondents 12-14. It is true that we generally determine the reasonableness of a search by balancing the nature of the intrusion on the individual's privacy against the promotion of legitimate governmental interests. See Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U. S. 648, 654 (1979). But we have long held that "the Fourth Amendment imposes no irreducible requirement of [individualized] suspicion." United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U. S. 543, 561 (1976). "[I]n certain limited circumstances, the Government's need to discover such latent or hidden conditions, or to prevent their development, is sufficiently compelling to justify the intrusion on privacy entailed by conducting such searches without any measure of individualized suspicion." Von Raab, supra, at 668; see also Skinner, supra, at 624. Therefore, in the context of safety and administrative regulations, a search unsupported by probable cause may be reasonable "when 'special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable-cause requirement impracticable.' " Griffin v. Wisconsin, 483 U. S. 868, 873 (1987) (quoting T. L. O., supra, at 351 (Blackmun, J., concurring in judgment)); see also Vernonia, supra, at 653; Skinner, supra, at 619.

Significantly, this Court has previously held that "special needs" inhere in the public school context. See Vernonia, supra, at 653; T. L. O., supra, at 339-340. While schoolchildren do not shed their constitutional rights when they enter the schoolhouse, see Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist., 393 U. S. 503, 506 (1969), "Fourth


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