According to LancasterOnline.com, the Solanco School District (SSD) revised its student drug-testing policy as a result of a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenging the district’s the random testing program. However, it appears that the policy revision does not address the main allegation of the lawsuit, namely that SSD never proved the need to test students for illegal drugs in the first place.
The school board approved changes to the policy that now only requires secondary school students participating in athletics and/or driving a car to school to consent to random drug testing. The policy previously required all secondary students participating in extracurricular activities and/or those driving a car to school to consent to the testing.
The ACLU’s suit claims the previous version of the policy violates a 2003 court ruling requiring school districts to justify mandatory testing with evidence of widespread drug use among students. Because the changes approved by the board fail to specifically address that point, an ACLU attorney said the organization likely would have proceeded with its lawsuit had the changes been in effect prior to March 2012.
Commenting on the policy revision, SSD Superintendent Martin Hudacs, in a written statement, said that the suit “did spur us to review the policy, and through that review, we focused the … policy more narrowly on those groups that are in line with state Supreme Court decisions.” He also pointed that district officials ”believe this policy is the right thing to do for the protection of our children and that it provides parents and students another tool to help prevent drug usage.”
Source: LancasterOnline.com, 5/23/12, By Brian Wallace
[Editor's Note: In March 2012, Legal Clips summarized an article on LancasterOnline.com, which reported that the ACLU had filed the suit in state court on behalf of a student, identified as M.M., and her parents, Christopher and Mika McDougall challenging SSD's drug policy. M.M. was barred from participating in orchestra because she and her parents had failed to consent to random drug testing at the school. The suit seeks to prevent the school district from requiring students who participate in extracurricular activities, including athletics and academic competitions, to submit to suspicionless, random drug testing. M.M. has also been barred from chorus and athletics.]