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PLAINTIFFS MAINTAIN STUDENT POLICY VIOLATES U.S., ARKANSAS CONSTITUTIONS

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Four parents have filed a civil lawsuit in Faulkner County Circuit Court
on behalf of their children to stop drug testing, which was just adopted
this year by the Conway School District.

Bruce Plopper, one of the plaintiffs, said Monday, "I think the students
are not property and you have to treat them as human beings."

He was one of the most vocal opponents of drug testing while the issue was
debated at meetings of the Conway School District's Board of Education.
The school board voted 4-3 in August to adopt a drug-testing policy.
Students in grades seven through 12 in extracurricular activities will be
randomly tested.

Conway Superintendent James Simmons said he had turned the matter over to
Bill Brazil, the school district's attorney. "He'll tell us what we need
to do," Simmons said, adding he was surprised the parents filed the
lawsuit.

"We'll just go right on until somebody tells us not to," Simmons said. No
students have been tested, yet. Monday was the day when the district's
principals had to turn in the names of all students in extracurricular
activities, Simmons said. Those names will be given to Counseling
Associates so a database can be created for the random testing.

Other parents listed as plaintiffs are Michael D. Conine, and Henry A. and
Maureen L. Zimmerebner. The lawsuit was filed by Conway attorney Lynn
Plemmons.

Even though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is legal to randomly test
students in extracurricular activities, "the Arkansas Constitution allows
more protection under search and seizure," Plopper said.

"For the various reasons listed in our petition, we believe the policy
violates the Arkansas Constitution, Arkansas common law and the spirit of
statutory law in general. We also believe the policy violates the Equal
Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution," Plopper said in a statement
issued Monday. "The step we have taken today is a natural move to protect
our children's rights."

Author: Tammy Keith, Log Cabin Staff Writer
Source: Log Cabin Democrat
Contact: dkeith@thecabin.net
Website: Log Cabin Democrat: Local & World News, Sports & Entertainment in Conway, AR
Pubdate: Tuesday, October 29, 2002
 
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