If you or your children attend school in Illinois, you might be interested in any Illinois laws that require drug testing in high schools. Compulsory drug testing in high schools has to tread a fine line to comply with both federal and state laws.
There are no federal laws requiring drug testing in high schools, at least for now. Indeed, the fourth amendment forbids unreasonable search and seizure. This limits which students can be considered for drug testing.
At first, only student athletes could be drug tested. This was later extended by the US Supreme Court to include all students participating in extracurricular activities.
Illinois State Law Requiring Drug Testing in High School
In 2009, Governor Pat Quinn signed a law requiring 1,000 high school athletes to be tested for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) over the course of the year, not just during competition. This was a temporary law that expired at the end of the 2010/2011 season.
However, despite privacy concerns, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) continued to test for PEDs after the law expired.
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA)
The IHSA has its own drug testing initiative. Because high school sports are a voluntary activity, and because parents must sign a consent form, this isn't covered by fourth amendment protections.
The IHSA tests a relatively small sample of athletes at random, looking mostly for PEDs, such as:
- Anabolic Agents
- Diuretics and Other Masking Agents
- Peptide Hormones and Analogues
Failing for any of the banned substances leads to being excluded from IHSA competitions. There is no complete list, however, and the IHSA notes that students have failed tests and lost sporting privileges because of legally bought supplements.
High School Districts
Individual high school districts may also have their own drug testing policies. To comply with the fourth amendment, only students involved in extracurricular activities can be drug tested. Being involved in any sort of school club, or even just holding a parking permit, can lead to a student being included in random drug screenings.
Students who fail a test for drugs or alcohol will generally be offered a reprieve if they submit to voluntary treatment. Expulsion and suspension are usually only considered as later options.
Note that private schools are not bound by the same rules. Attendance at these schools is a choice, so they can demand consent forms to be signed for drug testing. Some schools may even test their entire student body on a yearly basis.
Cheating Drug Tests
Of course, if students are forced to take drug tests, they will try to find ways to cheat them. Tests at the school district level will tend to focus more on the commonly abused drugs, such as weed, coke, and amphetamines. These will be more like the workplace tests that are easily fooled by detox drinks.
Some schools may even use the more expensive hair tests. Even these can be rendered useless by a special shampoo treatment.