AMORY – Parents of an Amory Schools student await further action in their lawsuit over her alleged treatment surrounding random drug testing.
They claim their 13-year-old student daughter was denied her rights to due process and security against unreasonable searches when in March she was selected for the testing under the school’s policy.
Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills issued a 10-day temporary restraining order to prevent the school district from enforcing the policy – which would have meant the girl could not compete in state softball championship play. The school district did not object to the TRO.
Now, all sides look toward a July 2 telephone conference to assess the status of the lawsuit.
Attorneys for the student and her parents are Freeland & Freeland of Oxford and Wheeler & Franks of Tupelo.
The girl’s parents – listed only as T.P. and C.H. – say that rather than keep confidential the names of students who are to be tested, the names are announced over the school intercom.
After she was tested by Advanced Security Services LLC, the girl reportedly tested positive for crystal methamphetamine, which the lawsuit insists she has “never used or been exposed to.”
The parents say they immediately had another test performed, with negative results, but Superintendent Tony Cook said he would require her suspension from athletics.
They claim they had no “meaningful” hearings through the required appeals process.
Defendants include the school district and Cook, Assistant Principal Paula Wax, school board members Bill Rogers, Mindy Brand, Jimmie Ann Ray, Marquette Rogers and Lazetta Stevens, as well as Advanced Security and three John Does, school district employees who allegedly disclosed the test information about the girl, referred to as “G.H.”
In its motion to dismiss state claims, the school officials and employees claim they were not given mandatory pre-lawsuit notice. Without such a notice, any lawsuit must be dismissed, they say.
All defendants deny the various allegations. They also insist their drug test policy is constitutional.
Through their attorneys, Mitchell McNutt & Sams, the defendants term the lawsuit “frivolous … and totally without merit,” saying they are protected under state sovereign immunity laws.
In issuing the TRO, Mills also ordered immediate retesting and said he will consider a preliminary injunction if the new test returns positive.
Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal