Lorain County teen’s family sues school district over drug testing policy

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SHEFFIELD, Ohio-- A Lorain County teen and his parents are suing the Sheffield-Sheffield Lake City Schools over the district's drug testing policy.

The school system said the policy is designed to identify students who need help. But the family that filed the lawsuit said the testing violates their rights.

"Drug testing policies, when you're doing it without cause, goes against our constitutional rights to be free from illegal search and seizures, and also that everybody has the right to be treated equally, which is the 14th Amendment," mother Sherrie Langin said.

Under the policy, students who drive to school or participate in activities must submit to drug testing. In the lawsuit filed in Lorain County Common Pleas Court, the 15-year-old sophomore at Brookside High School and his parents maintain the district has no right to test students without probable cause.

According to the school district, the Supreme Court ruled students who take part in activities have lesser expectations of privacy than other students. The Sheffield-Sheffield Lake City Schools Superintendent Michael Cook said the screenings serve as a deterrent and will pinpoint students with substance abuse issues.

"If you are tested through urine to be positive for drugs, you're going to have to seek some sort of counseling and intervention so that we can get you some help," Cook said.

"If we could test everyone, we would, but as soon as we attach a grade to a class, then you're not allowed to take their educational right away, so we're basically testing everyone that we can test."

Langin's son will miss out of sports and student council. He will be allowed to participate in marching band because that is considered a class.

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