Veronia District vs. Acton 1981

By: Addison Geoghagan and Carson Watson


James Acton was a seventh grader who lived in Washington State. He was told that in order to try out for the football team he was required to take a drug test. James went home and told his parents about the test, and his parents refused to let him take the test, claiming that the school was violating James’s 4th amendment right. They said that there was no way that he was taking drugs. James was not allowed to play football and his parents sued the school. The case lost at the state level and was taken and chosen by the Supreme court. It was a 6 to 3 vote and the school district. The Supreme Court said that the tet was for the health and well being of the students. The court said that the athletes must follow the rules and follow the disciplinary standards.

State Decision:

The State decision was that the jury ruled in favor of the school district claiming that the school was doing the tests in order for the well being of the students. Drugs had been a major problem in Vernonia schools and wanted to enforce this because the use of drugs makes the student more prone to athletic injuries.

Supreme Court Decision:

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the School District. Schools must recognize the right to privacy and they need to make the school campuses and life safe. The Court said that students who take part in school athletics must be willing to have limited privacy.

Our Opinion:

Our decision: We thought that the Supreme Court was right, to agree with the school board. We agreed because the school was just trying to protect the students and their health. They were trying to figure out who really wanted to be an athlete, and who didn’t.

Amendment Used:

4th Amendment