ACLU Files Suit Against Lockney ISD Drug-Testing 

ACLU Files Suit Against Lockney ISD Drug-Testing 
Posted by FoM on March 09, 2000 at 12:48:00 PT
By Jessica Raynor, Globe-News Staff Writer
Source: Amarillo Globe
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Lockney school district asking for an injunction against the district's mandatory drug-testing for all students and teachers. Brady Tannahill, a sixth-grader in Lockney, is named as a plaintiff with his father, Larry, in the lawsuit. Larry Tannahill refused to sign a consent form for his son to take a drug test with about 400 other students in early February. 
Lockney schools superintendent Robert Lusk referred calls to the school district's lawyer in Austin, Donald Henslee, who said the district is concerned but maintains it has not violated Fourth Amendment rights as ACLU officials said. "They (Lockney school officials) are very firm in this policy," Henslee said. "I would be surprised if they eliminate the policy." Henslee said he will meet with the school board Friday and then draft a response to the lawsuit within 20 days. He said the district has the option of amending its policy to avoid going to court. The lawsuit, drafted by ACLU attorney Michael Linz of Dallas, asks the court to declare that Lockney's drug-testing policy is illegal. It said Brady Tannahill was deprived "of his right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure as guaranteed to him by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution." The Fourth Amendment provides that a U.S. citizen is protected against search and seizure without probable cause. The Fourteenth Amendment provides that no state should make a law abridging a U.S. citizen's rights. "The government is not allowed to search through someone's stuff without cause," said Graham Boyd of the ACLU Foundation Drug Policy Litigation Project in Connecticut. "When you drug-test across the board for no reason, it creates some controversy, not to mention a violation of people's privacy." The Lockney school district approved a mandatory drug-testing policy for all students in November 1999 after two years of debate, Lusk said. Community response was positive, and the policy was implemented in February, Lusk said. Lusk said refusing to take the drug test would be tantamount to a positive result on the test. The student would be prohibited from participating in extracurricular activities for 21 days, be placed on in-school suspension for three days and be required to attend three drug-counseling sessions. Lusk said in earlier interviews the punishment isn't severe, and that policy is set up to encourage students to say no to drugs. Brady Tannahill will not be punished while he and his father go through the grievance process, which goes in order from school principal to superintendent to the school board. Larry Tannahill will appear in front of the Lockney school board March 23, he said Wednesday. Two weeks after the meeting, a preliminary injunction hearing will be conducted in Lubbock's federal court, Henslee said. A preliminary injunction would stop the drug-testing until the case is resolved, he said. Larry Tannahill said that while he has no regrets about his refusal to sign his son's consent form, he wishes this situation would be resolved before going to court. "I really didn't want this to happen," Tannahill said Wednesday. "But if this is what it takes, then we'll do it." Published: March 9, 2000  2000 Amarillo Globe-News Related Articles & Web Site:ACLU Enters Lockney ISD Drug-Testing Controversy Files Lawsuit Against Lockney Schools Mistreatment School Drug Tests Violate Student Rights, Parents Challenge Drug-Testing Policy Drug Testing Archives: 
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