Statements by Teenage Girls and Their Parents, Clients in NYCLU Lawsuit Against New York School Officials for Forcing Teenage Girls to Undergo Intrusive Medical Exams

Document Date: July 8, 2003
Affiliate: New York Civil Liberties Union


NEW YORK – Following are statements by two teenage girls and their relatives, who are clients in the New York Civil Liberties Unions’ federal lawsuit against school officials for forcing a group of girls to undergo intrusive and highly private medical examinations following their participation in a “”hooky party.””

For more information on the lawsuit, go to /node/9747

Statement of Jane Doe, 13, recent graduate of I.S. 164
I knew that I was being punished, so I didn’t think I had a choice when the principal told me I had to get all these medical tests, even though it didn’t make sense to me. The tests were painful and embarrassing, and the principal told me that I couldn’t even go to my regular clinic, that I had to go to a doctor I’d never met before. The whole experience was awful and really upsetting.

Statement of Ms. Doe, mother of Jane Doe
I didn’t know why the principal would want my daughter to get a pregnancy test, pelvic exam, STD test and HIV test and why she would want a letter with the test results. And I didn’t understand why I had to take her to the doctor immediately, except that they told me I must if my daughter was to be allowed back in school. But I did not know that it was illegal for the school to demand this information, so I didn’t know that I could have objected. My daughter and I were worried that missing so much school she wouldn’t have enough preparation time for the eighth grade math exam, so we had the tests done. The nurse at the clinic said that the school didn’t have the right to ask for this information, so she didn’t put the test results in the first note to the school. But the school rejected that note and told me that my daughter could not go to classes until we handed in a note with all the test results. I’m glad the nurse stuck up for my daughter, and I’m glad our lawyers are suing the school for breaking the law.

This is a family matter; the school should not have interfered with our decisions as a family.

Statement of “”Susan Roe,”” 14, recent graduate of I.S. 164
I know I shouldn’t have skipped school, but just because I did, I don’t think that the school had the right to make me have the tests and turn over the results. I wasn’t given any choice about turning over my test results-the school wouldn’t let me go to my classes unless I gave them proof I wasn’t pregnant and had no STDs. I needed to get back to my classes because we had an important math exam coming up and the school had already kept me out of classes for three days. Since I couldn’t get the prep materials when the other kids did, I had to cram and study extra hard to pass the math exam. Afterwards, I was worried about what the teachers and other kids think of me; they all knew what happened and that we had to get tested for pregnancy and STDs and HIV. I’m so upset about what they did to me.

Statement of Sister Roe, 25, older sister of Susan Roe
I cannot believe how disrespectful the school acted towards my sister, my mom and me. The school made my sister go to a doctor and get really private exams. They kept her out of classes and called me at work when she didn’t bring in a note with all the results. They told my sister that if someone from our family didn’t come to the school immediately, they would report my mother to the Administration for Children’s Services, even though my mother had gone to the school earlier but wasn’t allowed in because she didn’t have proper identification. We were very scared. Now we’re very angry. The school was out of line.