As a result of media coverage of high school athletic events, athletes are high profiled individuals who are seen as role models for their peers and representatives of their schools and communities in other areas of the state and country.  As a result of the high visibility of these athletes and the inherent danger of participating in athletics under the influence of drugs, it is not unreasonable to hold the student-athletes to a higher degree of accountability and different standards than the normal school population.  It is also the consensus of the staff that the threat of drug testing will prevent experimentation and the use of drugs by athletes.  Because athletes tend to be the leaders both on campus and off campus, the school district contends that if the leaders do not use drugs then fewer of the general population of the school will use drugs.




On June 3, 1995, the United States Supreme Court overturned a Ninth Circuit Federal appeals court ruling and stated that drug testing high school athletes did not violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.  The case, Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, began in Vernonia, Oregon, in 1991.  Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion, stated, ”It seems to us self-evident that a drug problem largely fueled by the "role model" effect of athletes’ drug use, and of particular danger to athletes, is effectively addressed by making sure that athletes do not use drugs.”  Scalia argued that Vernonia’s drug testing policy was constitutional for three reasons:  students have low expectations for privacy in communal locker rooms; the testing program was designed to be unobtrusive; and the program served the district’s interest in combating drug abuse.  All drug testing programs must meet the three criteria that Justice Scalia stated in the majority ruling.  The Federal Courts have stated that the U. S. Constitution does not guarantee an individual the right to participate in high school athletics.




Testing Personnel:



Independent Testing Laboratory or School Nurse

  1. Take samples

  2. Analyze samples

  3. Allow for prescription drugs



Coaching Staff

  1. Take samples

  2. Paperwork for prescription drugs


Athletes Tested:



All athletes prior to first game


Test 20% during season and off-season (picked in a lottery).


Reserve the right to test students with abrupt behavior changes.


Reserve the right to test students whose peer group are known or suspected drug abusers.




Athletes and parents are required to sign a permission form stating that the student can participate and is willing to be tested for drugs at the district's discretion.  This permission form must be completed and on file at the school before the student is allowed to participate in practice or games.  The greatest concern in implementing a drug testing program is staying within the confines of the law when collecting the samples.  Every effort must be made to ensure that the testing is not ”excessively intrusive” and is sensitive to the student-athletes need for privacy.



Athlete must complete a specimen control form prior to testing.

  1. Assigned a number

  2. Identify prescription medication


Sample gathering procedures.

  1. Empty restroom or locker room accompanied by an adult monitor

  2. Athletes are fully dressed with back to the monitor

  3. Monitor listens for normal sounds of urination and observes student from the back

  4. After sample is produced the monitor checks the temperature and seals the vial

  5. Vial is tagged and shipped to an independent laboratory for testing or school nurse tests specimen on site

  6. Specimen is tested for:
    1) Amphetamines

    2) Cocaine

    3) Marijuana


Refusal to take test is the same as testing positive.


Procedure for Handling Test Results



Follow strict procedures regarding the chain of custody and access to test results

  1. Coach

  2. District Nurse

  3. Principal

  4. Parents



Positive test

  1. Administer a second test to confirm results

  2. Coach sets up a conference with athlete and parents



Penalty phase (non-punitive)

  1. First offense


    Suspension from all athletics


    Enter drug assistance program at own expense for minimum of four (4) weeks


    Upon completion of program and testing drug free, student is allowed to return to his/her sport


    Student-athlete may be tested regularly until graduation

  1. Second offense – Dismissal from all interscholastic sports programs for a period of one year and referral to drug court

  2. Third offense – Permanent dismissal from all interscholastic sports programs


Revised:  October, 2006



Ref:     La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§17:81, 40:961, 49:1111

Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646 (1995)

Official Handbook, Louisiana High School Athletic Association

Board minutes, 9-4-90, 03-06-07


Catahoula Parish School Board