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11-Year-Old Sues School District Over Drug Tests

11-Year-Old Sues School District Over Drug Tests

An 11-year-old girl from Lancaster, Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit against the Solano School District over a random drug testing policy required for students participating in extracurricular activities such as musical groups and sports teams.

The girl and her parents are suing on the grounds of unconstitutional violation of privacy, and the girl has reportedly been removed from the school orchestra and chorus “because she won’t consent to having her urine screened on a random basis by school officials” (ABC).

Although it seems shocking to test middle schoolers for drugs, random drug testing in schools is not a new issue, although it is most common at the high school level. The 1995 Supreme Court Vernonina School District v. Acton verdict ruled in favor of random drug testing for school athletes, and a 1998 case expanded the ruling to include all extracurricular activities, not just sports.

What is the justification for testing students for drugs? Nearly all proponents of this practice believe that the threat of random drug testing will be enough to prevent students from taking drugs. But studies have shown that while random drug testing does seem to stop students from taking drugs in the short term, it does almost nothing to ensure long-term abstinence from drugs.

And for those students — like the middle schooler in Pennsylvania — who are conscious of their rights, drug testing can easily be seen as an invasion of privacy.

Obviously, no one wants kids to be using drugs. And many of the campaigns that try to steer children away from drugs and alcohol, such as D.A.R.E. and Above the Influence, have had questionable success in preventing drug use. But is mandatory drug testing in order to sing in the school choir really a viable solution?

What do you think? Is random drug testing in schools acceptable, or does the girl from Pennsylvania make a valid point by refusing to submit to the tests? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Photo credit: stevendepolo

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73 comments

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12:53PM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Drug testing is wrong BUT kids ON drugs have ruinned the privacy rights for our kids. Kids who have died have ruinned the privacy rights for our kids. Kids who are in jail have ruinned the privacy rights for our kids. Kids who WERE on drugs and who are now adults wish for ways to stop kids to stop using. Not to mention the real problem-the Drug Dealers++ who ruin it for everyone in our country. How can we all all stop kids to stop using. NOT TO SAY your kids are using. We are not accusing. We are trying to protect and help the BEST WAY WE KNOW HOW. Just like parents are trying the BEST way they know how to PARENT their kids when their kids are being mean to their parents and accusing their parents. WE ARE ALL TRYING OUR BEST. If you know the best route, tell us. Tell them. I for one, say we don't truly have a choice. Oh, we do, but do you want to tell your kids truly at these times, not to take the drug test. The peer pressures. Teach your kids the right things. If we get the schools not to do the drug tests, how many kids will die BECAUSE they didn't take that test? how many more drugs will be passed around because they didn't caught? Just think about it. History....and what a shame of history....and your child can be marked right in the middle of that page OR your child's friend....DEAD.

1:21PM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

This is crazy! They want to drug test 11 year olds? So wrong!

8:37AM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

My son (13) was drug tested for band a month or so ago. We talked about how it was wrong, but that if he wanted his flute scholarship he must concede. The number of students ejected from band this year alone shows this random drug testing doesn't work as much of a deterrent. The sad part is very few drugs are actually screened because the vast majority are out of a system so quickly. They need to call it what it is, "a weed test" since it is the only "drug" that stays in ones system for very long periods of time. I wish we had resources etc. to fight this, but we do not.
I forget who said teachers need better background checks, you should know that to be certified in TX (I don't know about other states) you must have a state and federal background check.

1:48AM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

I'd think she's to young. But I just don't know bout kids today. Seems to me, they'd test those who show no interest in things period and got bad grades. By all means test teachers and the rest of the school.

4:27PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

Ah yes, another example of "big brother" coming to your state!

12:45AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

So people are upset about more government, but are OK with random drug screening of our children in public schools?

I disagree with drug testing policies for employment, except in cases where safety issues of the job are concerned (bus drivers, airline pilots, etc.), or if there is reason to believe the employee is using drugs or alcohol at work, or has a serious drug or alcohol problem. Otherwise, nobody has a right to say what I do on my own time as long as I am not endangering myself or others.

The same is true for students. Good for her and her parents for supporting her. I'm sick of the ever-increasing hand of "Big Brother" in people's lives.

6:28PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

As a parent, I'd be more concerned about which teachers and administrators were using drugs. How about MANDATORY, regular (not random) drug testing for the people who are responsible for our children's well-being and safety for a good part of the day?

Thorough background/criminal checks and regular drug testing should be a matter of course for ANY position of authority over children.

6:25PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

People need to start standing up for themselves. No matter what age. I applaud her.

1:35PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

I think it's totally outrageous that the children who are eligible to participate in extracurricular activities, are the ones being singled-out for drug testing. I don't think any child should be tested for alcohol or drug use, unless there is a clear reason, specific a particular child. We are sending them a message that no matter how hard they study, how talented they are, and how good they are, they're still suspects... Whatever happened to being innocent until proven guilty? Visiting this kind of probable guilt on our children will do far more harm than good.

12:01PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Johanna M.
People like you are a dictator's dream "If you have nothing to hide why not take the test?" Because it is intrusive and there needs to be "probable cause" Was there probable cause to test a 12 year old girl? I think not!
If there were more Americans like her we would be living in a much better world.

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