Scrapbook Abuse

Extracurricular drug testing


M. and A. Kiederer—two sisters in the seventh and ninth grades, respectively—want to participate in extracurricular activities at school, including the scrapbooking club, the drama club, and Junior Students Against Substance Abuse. But in Pike County, Pennsylvania, middle and high schoolers who want to take part in any officially recognized extracurricular activities must submit to random drug and alcohol testing. With help from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Kiederers and their parents successfully sued in March to block the requirement.

The suit argued that the district's policy—which applies not just to students who participate in extracurricular activities but to any student who drives to campus—was an unconstitutional violation of student privacy.

In 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court allowed random drug testing for "competitive" extracurricular activities. But Pennsylvania's Supreme Court has erred more on the side of privacy. In response to a 2003 lawsuit involving the same district, the court ruled that drug tests must be motivated by increased student drug use or a "documented reason" to test specific individuals. Delaware Valley schools have ignored this requirement. However, a Pike County judge ruled in July that the school district had not collected the information needed to justify random drug tests, and ordered the policy immediately halted.