Students required to consent to suspicionless drug testing to participate in extra-curricular activities
Court/Assoc.: Court of Common Pleas of Carbon County
Attorneys/Firms: Stephen McConnell, Kevin Flannery, Michael Salimbene, and Kenneth Holloway (Dechert LLP); Mary Catherine Roper, Molly Tack-Hooper, and Witold Walczak (ACLU of Pennsylvania)
On March 9, 2011, the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Panther Valley School District (Carbon County) students, siblings M.T., a ninth grader, and Jeremy Thomas, a twelfth grader, who are not allowed to participate in after-school activities because of their refusal to consent to random, suspicionless urinalysis. An Eagle Scout and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) member, Jeremy was kicked off the golf team after refusing to sign the consent form. He is also not allowed to attend his prom. Both siblings and their parents, Morgan and Donna Thomas, believe that the required testing program violates their right to privacy.
The ACLU of Pennsylvania argued the PVSD policy violates a 2003 Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling requiring schools to justify suspicionless drug testing programs with evidence of a widespread drug problem among students. PVSD has not provided any data to show that drug use is a problem among its students involved in extracurricular activities.
On May 5, 2011, Judge Steven Serfass issued an order prohibiting PVSD from enforcing its random drug testing policy.