ACLU of Ohio Sues Local School Over Random Drug Testing of Student Athletes

Affiliate: ACLU of Ohio
November 20, 2001 12:00 am

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CLEVELAND–Saying that no widespread drug abuse among student athletes exists, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio today filed a class action lawsuit in United States District Court in Columbus challenging the Dublin City School District’s policy of random drug testing of student athletes.

“The Supreme Court has held that the only way for a school district to justify random, suspicionless drug testing is if a demonstrated problem exists,” said Jillian Davis, Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Ohio. “Statistics show that no such problem exists among student athletes in Dublin.”

The Dublin School District’s policy provides for the testing of all student athletes at the beginning of their respective season, and then requires that they submit to random testing throughout the season. The District initiated the policy at the beginning of the 2000 school year. That year, out of over one thousand tests administered, only two came up positive for marijuana. This fall produced four positives out of 1,231 tests, two from the same student.

The filing of today’s class action suit comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to review the constitutionality of random urine testing of students involved in extracurricular activities.

According to Graham Boyd, Director of the ACLU National Drug Policy Litigation Project, the question the high court will have to decide is whether a school district can randomly drug test students without any individualized suspicion or evidence of a significant drug problem in the school and without any reason for special concern about student safety.

The last time the Supreme Court examined the issue of drug testing students was in 1995, when the Justices upheld random drug testing for student athletes in Oregon. The Court’s finding was based on evidence of rampant drug abuse at the school and was targeted at football players who could face serious injuries on the field.

The Ohio lawsuit, filed on behalf of all student athletes in the Dublin schools, asks the court to declare the law unconstitutional and to forbid the District from enforcing its provisions.

For more information on the ACLU’s challenges to student drug testing, go to

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