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High School Graduate Lacks Standing to Challenge Student Drug Testing Policy

In the case of Langin v. Sheffield-Sheffield Lake Bd. of Edn., 2022-Ohio-879, the Ohio Ninth District Court of Appeals concluded that a high school graduate lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of a school board student drug testing policy.

Here, the graduate sought a declaration that the school board policy violated the Ohio Constitution and an injunction against the school board to prohibit enforcement of the policy. The school board argued that the graduate could not establish standing because the graduate was no longer a student. The Court agreed.

In finding that the high school graduate lacked standing, the Court explained that litigants must establish — at a minimum — “that they have suffered (1) an injury that is (2) fairly traceable to the defendant’s allegedly unlawful conduct, and (3) likely to be redressed by the requested relief.” 2022-Ohio-879 at ¶ 10. Accordingly, the Court concluded the graduate lacked standing because the graduate was no longer subject to the policy and, therefore, could not suffer from any adverse effects of the policy. The Court went on to explain that, even if the Court found in the graduate’s favor, declaring the policy unconstitutional and prohibiting its enforcement would not address any injury since the graduate was no longer a student.

As an aside, the Court also explained that, while the Ohio Political Subdivision Tort Liability Act does not afford the school board statutory immunity from “[c]ivil claims based upon alleged violations of the constitution or statutes of the United States” (R.C. 2744.09(E)), in this case, the Court found that no private constitutional tort cause of action exists under Ohio law.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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