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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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March 13, 2008 8:36 AM

Supreme Court rules against random school searches

Posted by David Postman

The state Supreme Court today said that school districts cannot conduct searches on school grounds without some suspicion of wrongdoing or a warrant.

Justice Richard Sanders wrote:

The school district asks us to adopt a "special needs" exception to the warrant requirement to allow random and suspicionless drug testing. But we do not recognize such an exception and hold warrantless random and suspicionless drug testing of student athletes violates the Washington State Constitution.

Article I, section 7 of the Washington Constitution provides:

No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his
home invaded, without authority of law.

The case comes from the Wahkiakum School District which has a policy of randomly testing student atheltes for drugs. Parents of students -- who were tested -- sued the district saying the policy violated the state Constitution. The Superior Court, though, sided with the district.

It is a unanimous decision, though with three concurrences, by Barbara Madsen, Tom Chambers, and James Johnson.

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Posted by Hinton

11:54 AM, Mar 13, 2008

I thank you, the drug dealers thank you, and the steroid companies thank you.

Posted by loveyourviaduct

1:20 PM, Mar 13, 2008

The Supremes got it right. Teach 'em when they're young - it's always good to question the authorities when they try to infringe on your rights. Never mind the State Constitution, the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution might yet survive for another generation.

Posted by P

1:00 PM, Mar 14, 2008

It is beyond belief the Washington Supreme Court's ruling that students, wanting to participate in after-school sports, cannot be randomly drug tested. First of all, school sports is not a right, but a privilage. If a student doesn't make practice, they don't play. It is encumbent upon the student to agree to practice sessions. The same is true of drugs. In order to play a student must promise not to take illegal drugs. But how does the school make sure their students are not taking drugs if not through random drug testing? The Washington State Supreme Court must realize youngsters are NOT adults and should not be afforded constitutional rights of an adult. Drug testing is the only way schools can be sure their students are obeying the rules. Taking these tests away from the schools is pure stupidity.

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