Pubdate: Fri, 3 Sep 2010
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Record Searchlight
Author: Jim Schultz
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Students - United States)


SACRAMENTO -- An appellate court on Thursday upheld a ruling by a
Shasta County Superior Court judge who issued a preliminary injunction
last year against the Shasta Union High School District that ordered
it to stop drug testing nonathletes.

In its 31-page ruling, the Third District Court of Appeal said the
school district failed to show that Superior Court Judge Monica Marlow
acted improperly when she issued the injunction in May 2009.

And, it said, the legality of the school district's drug-testing
policy can now proceed to trial on its merits.

Jim Cloney, the school district's superintendent, could not be reached
Thursday evening for his reaction to the appellate court's decision.

But, he has said in prior interviews that the drug-testing policy was
expanded in the belief that it's not only athletes who are confronted
with pressure to use illegal substances.

If students know they can be randomly tested for drugs, they have one
more reason not to take them, Cloney has said.

Although Marlow has acknowledged that the district's goal of drug-free
schools is "admirable and commendable," she said the policy must be
consistent with the California Constitution and the California Supreme
Court cases by which the court is bound.

Before 2008, the district had a random drug-testing program that was
limited to only those students who participated in school sports.

But some parents thought it was unfair to test only student athletes,
and there was resentment among the coaches that other students were
not tested as well, the appellate court noted in its ruling.

The district approved an expansion of its drug-testing policy in 2008
to include students who participate in band, choir, drama and other
competitive extracurricular programs, including the Future Farmers of
America, at the district's three main high schools.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which
represents three families suing the district over the policy, has
said, however, that the test expansion violates the California
Constitution's privacy clause.

"This (expansion) is exactly why the people of California ... voted to
include the right to privacy in the state constitution," Michael
Risher, a staff attorney for the ACLU in San Francisco, has said,
noting that the case has the potential to affect high school districts
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake