Pubdate: Thu, 06 Nov 2003
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2003 The Decatur Daily
Author: Deangelo McDaniel
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Judicial order appears good until Nov. 20

HARTSELLE - If Morgan County Circuit Judge Sherrie Paler does not dissolve
the restraining order she placed against the Hartselle Board of Education,
student Adam Faulk will play in Hartselle's playoff game Friday night.

The motion Paler approved Friday, prohibits the school board from taking any
action against Faulk until its "next regular scheduled meeting."

Faulk, who challenged the legality of Hartselle's student drug-testing
program, has a hearing with the board tonight.

But attorney Bill Shinn, who represents the school board, said tonight's
meeting is a called meeting. The next regular meeting is Nov. 20.

He filed a motion Wednesday asking Paler to dissolve her motion.

He said Paler's order prohibits the school system from suspending Faulk
before Nov. 20, even if he tests positive for a substance the policy bans.

Shinn confirmed in his motion that the school system has received a specimen
from Faulk, but he did not include the results of the test.

The incident with Faulk and the school system started Oct. 27 when the
school system's drug-testing company selected the sophomore football player
to be tested.

Faulk suffered an asthma attack and was "suffering from the flu that was
sweeping through the student body," Hartselle attorney Jeffrey Roberts said
in his motion for emergency relief.

The student's mother, Donna Faulk, picked up her son from school. Roberts
said the drug-testing coordinator considered Faulk's illness a valid reason
for missing the drug test.

He said his client was not able to give a urine sample on Monday because he
was dehydrated.

Roberts accused board Chairman Ronnie Abercrombie of acting "unilaterally"
and declaring Faulk ineligible.

Abercrombie denied the allegations.

Shinn said Roberts only told part of the story in his motion for emergency
relief. Shinn said Roberts made no effort to notify him or Superintendent
Lee Hartsell of his intentions to seek injunctive relief. "Instead, it
appears that there was a conscious effort to avoid giving notice to the
attorney for the defendants," Shinn wrote in his motion.

Shinn also argued against Faulk's claim that he would suffer irreparable
damage if the board stopped him from playing in Hartselle's Oct. 31 game
with Lawrence County High School.

"Inability to participate in a high school football game can hardly be
considered irreparable injury, loss or damage," Shinn said.

Hartselle adopted one of the broadest student drug-testing programs in the
state after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2002 that school systems
could drug test students.

The board requires all students to sign a consent form stating that they are
disqualified from participating in athletic and extracurricular activities
if they do not comply with the policy.

The policy allows the school system to disqualify a student from
participation if the parent or guardian checks the student out of school on
the day that the testing company selects the student for a random drug test.

Roberts said the mother did not check her son out of school to avoid giving
a specimen, but only because of his illness.

Faulk's attorney could not be reached for comment this morning, but he has
the option of a closed or an open hearing tonight.

The board meets tonight at 6 p.m. at its central office on College Street.
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