7 Comments

11 Year Old Schoolgirl Sues Pennsylvania District over Drug Tests

By Phillip Smith March 27, 2012 11 Year Old Schoolgirl Sues Pennsylvania District over Drug Tests
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

PEACH BOTTOM, PA – An 11-year-old girl, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia law firm Dechert LLP have filed suit against a Lancaster County school district over its policy requiring random drug tests of students engaging in extracurricular activities. The ACLU said the lawsuit was filed last Wednesday.

The suit was filed on behalf of the student, identified only by the initials “MM” and her parents, Mika and Christopher McDougall of Peach Bottom. The lawsuit says MM was barred from participating in orchestra and chorus at the beginning of the school year and cannot join any athletic or academic teams because she and her parents refused to consent to submitting her to drug tests.

“We refused to sign the forms, so on her first day of orchestra, she was on her way to rehearsal, she was told by the principal she was not allowed to be in the orchestra,” Christopher McDougall said.

MM is described as an academically high-performing student who was also asked to join the school’s math club, but is barred from that as well.

The US Supreme Court has held that the random drug testing of student athletes or students involved in extracurricular activities does not violate the US Constitution. But some state supreme courts, including Pennsylvania’s, have found protections against random drug testing of students in their state constitutions.

The lawsuit charges that the Solanco School District’s student drug testing policy violates a 2003 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision holding that random drug testing of students is unconstitutional unless the school districts can show that the group of students being tested had a high drug use rate. That case was Theodore v. Delaware Valley School District.

The ACLU and Dechert LLC brought similar lawsuits against two other school districts last year. In both of those cases, state court have issued preliminary injunctions barring the school districts from conducting random drug tests of students.

“In the past year, judges have issued injunctions to stop similar policies in two other school districts. Unfortunately, the Solanco School District has not learned from other districts’ mistakes,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “Not only are these policies a violation of students’ right to privacy, numerous studies have shown they do not reduce student drug use,” he continued.

“We’re surprised and disappointed that Solanco School District is not only ignoring the law, but also the example of other school districts which have rejected the same policy because they understand that spying on students without suspicion is against the Constitution,” said the McDougalls. “These are young people who have done nothing wrong, not prisoners on parole. We’ve tried repeatedly to persuade the district to abide by the state Supreme Court’s ruling, but it has refused. That’s unfortunate, because the district’s responsibility is to teach students to respect and understand the law, not sidestep it.”

The school district has yet to comment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1402526110 Jenessia Christine Few

    All I can say is… “this infuriates me!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=530035825 Sydney Marie Kelts

    middle schoolers getting drug tested….. this is ridiculous. i can understand high school, but damn.. elementary and middle school, if your going to drug test them, do it when they get their physicals, and if it doesnt require a physical it doesnt need to be done. i know they say they start early, but extracurricular activities is usually what KEEPS kids from using drugs…. 

    • lilly

       do her rights go away when she reaches high school? (and no being complacent and utter fear is what stops children from doing drugs. I saw more drug use among football, basketball and band/chorus  members in high school than i ever did from kids who sat at home and watched tv.

  • Rox

    i work in the schools and i see drugs every where.. and i have kids in these schools as well.. if my kid got hurt because a kid was using .. i would be so pissed off..  i am all for it.. to keep my kid safe.. why should she suffer someone stupidity to use drugs… she works her butt off to keep grades and stay out of trouble  .. so she can do the extra stuff the school offers.. why punish thoes who follow the rules… if she has to take a test.  i am for it.. as a parent and a staff memeber

    • Ryan

      Please clarify what level of education you work in and where. Your flawed logic is sad for anyone but appalling for an educator. How would your kid get hurt from another kid “using”?.

      Do you even know any literary devices other than ellipses? You say you’re staff not a teacher, what like a janitor? That would clarify some things. I’m sorry your children have to be subjected to your way of thought. If they’re smart when they grow up they can acknowledge where you went wrong but the way you’re raising them, subjecting them to screening and such they’re not destined for much.

    • Tgod264

      …are you kidding me 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Georgia-Can-Nabis/100003681370845 Georgia Can Nabis

    Wow.  Hope she wins!  As a side note, a lot of mathematicians and musicians use psychoactives.  I’d hate to imagine a world without them.  But not for kids of course.  Just saying.  And making my child pee in a cup?  Pssh.  Screw you too, public school system.