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

Page:   Index   Previous  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  Next

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

Opinion of the Court

against disease. See id., at 656. Securing order in the school environment sometimes requires that students be subjected to greater controls than those appropriate for adults. See T. L. O., 469 U. S., at 350 (Powell, J., concurring) ("Without first establishing discipline and maintaining order, teachers cannot begin to educate their students. And apart from education, the school has the obligation to protect pupils from mistreatment by other children, and also to protect teachers themselves from violence by the few students whose conduct in recent years has prompted national concern").

Respondents argue that because children participating in nonathletic extracurricular activities are not subject to regular physicals and communal undress, they have a stronger expectation of privacy than the athletes tested in Vernonia. See Brief for Respondents 18-20. This distinction, however, was not essential to our decision in Vernonia, which depended primarily upon the school's custodial responsibility and authority.3

In any event, students who participate in competitive extracurricular activities voluntarily subject themselves to many of the same intrusions on their privacy as do athletes.4

3 Justice Ginsburg argues that Vernonia School Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 U. S. 646 (1995), depended on the fact that the drug testing program applied only to student athletes. But even the passage cited by the dissent manifests the supplemental nature of this factor, as the Court in Vernonia stated that "[l]egitimate privacy expectations are even less with regard to student athletes." See post, at 847 (quoting Vernonia, 515 U. S., at 657) (emphasis added). In upholding the drug testing program in Vernonia, we considered the school context "[c]entral" and "[t]he most significant element." Id., at 654, 665. This hefty weight on the side of the school's balance applies with similar force in this case even though we undertake a separate balancing with regard to this particular program.

4 Justice Ginsburg's observations with regard to extracurricular activities apply with equal force to athletics. See post, at 845 ("Participation in such [extracurricular] activities is a key component of school life, essential in reality for students applying to college, and, for all participants, a significant contributor to the breadth and quality of the educational experience").


Page:   Index   Previous  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007