ACLU Sues Michigan Community Schools over Drug Testing Policy

Affiliate: ACLU of Michigan
March 28, 2000 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Michigan
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Tuesday, March 28, 2000

GRAND BLANC, MI — The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today filed suit on behalf a high school student challenging a school policy requiring drug tests of student athletes.

In the fall of 1999, Grand Blanc student Micah White applied to enroll in the wrestling program at Grand Blanc High School. The eligibility requirements said that he and his parents had to sign a Drug Testing Authorization Form. After he refused to do so, he was not allowed to participate in the wrestling program.

“We shouldn’t be treating students as if they are criminals,” said Kary Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan. “Indiscriminate, suspicionless drug testing violates student privacy rights.”

“As the Supreme Court said in Tinker v. Des Moines, students do not surrender their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gates.”

White is a member of the National Honor Society, is a National Merit Commended Student, and a National Achievement Finalist. He has never been suspended, expelled or disciplined at high school due to behavior problems or for other reasons.

Prior to implementation of the policy, the high school had not found any evidence that would justify subjecting athletes to random searches. Instead, they found that of numerous students tested only one tested positive for drugs.

The State of Michigan has held in a previous case that the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures is greater under the Michigan Constitution than under the federal constitution.

The case has been assigned to the Hon. Geoffrey Neithercut and filed in Genesee County Circuit Court. The cooperating attorney in this case is Gregory T. Gibbs and JeanMarie Miller and Mark Granzatto.

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