Feature Archive

My Kid Is Drug-Free

Mandatory drug tests.

WebMD Feature

Aug. 18 -- Like any other junior high student in the dusty Texas farming community of Lockney, Brady Tannahill has studied the Bill of Rights in school. But unlike most, the 12-year-old is going to court to defend it.

Last December, the Lockney Independent School District announced a new strategy in its war against drugs in the schools: Starting in February 2000, every junior and senior high school student would have to submit to drug testing.

The district sent home a release form for all parents to sign, authorizing school officials to test their children. But when Brady's father, Larry, received it, he did something unexpected: He just said no.

"I believe in my son," says Tannahill. "My wife and I have no reason to suspect he takes drugs. The school system has no reason to suspect he takes drugs. I say, given those facts, that there is no reason for him to be tested for drugs."

Brady agrees. He doesn't think his school has a problem with drugs and doesn't know any kids in his class that take them. "I just don't think it's right that I have to be tested," he says.

The district responded to the Tannahills' refusal by threatening to suspend Brady from school. Then, in what's shaping up as the civics lesson of a lifetime, Brady and his father, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), filed suit against the district in federal court in Lubbock, claiming the mandatory drug testing policy violates Brady's Fourth Amendment rights.