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)

Ginsburg, J., dissenting

gage in dangerous activities on their own time; that the children are enrolled in school scarcely allows government to monitor all such activities. If a student has a reasonable subjective expectation of privacy in the personal items she brings to school, see T. L. O., 469 U. S., at 338-339, surely she has a similar expectation regarding the chemical composition of her urine. Had the Vernonia Court agreed that public school attendance, in and of itself, permitted the State to test each student's blood or urine for drugs, the opinion in Vernonia could have saved many words. See, e. g., 515 U. S., at 662 ("[I]t must not be lost sight of that [the Vernonia School District] program is directed . . . to drug use by school athletes, where the risk of immediate physical harm to the drug user or those with whom he is playing his sport is particularly high.").

The second commonality to which the Court points is the voluntary character of both interscholastic athletics and other competitive extracurricular activities. "By choosing to 'go out for the team,' [school athletes] voluntarily subject themselves to a degree of regulation even higher than that imposed on students generally." Id., at 657. Comparably, the Court today observes, "students who participate in competitive extracurricular activities voluntarily subject themselves to" additional rules not applicable to other students. Ante, at 831.

The comparison is enlightening. While extracurricular activities are "voluntary" in the sense that they are not required for graduation, they are part of the school's educational program; for that reason, the petitioner (hereinafter School District) is justified in expending public resources to make them available. Participation in such 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. See Brief for Respondents 6; Brief for American Academy of Pediatrics et al. as Amici Curiae 8-9. Students


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