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BOARD expected to discuss option on drug-testing policy appeal

TECUMSEH, Okla. (AP) _ The Tecumseh school board will discuss Monday whether to appeal a federal court decision barring a drug-testing policy to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8-1 to deny the school board's request to reopen the case. The May 31 ruling effectively prohibited the district's policy of requiring drug testing for students involved in non-athletic extracurricular activities.

In March, a panel of the court ruled 2-1 that it generally is unconstitutional for public schools to require students in non-athletic extracurricular activities to be tested for use of illegal drugs.

School board members are expected to decide whether to send the case to the U.S. Supreme Court or back to district court, where the case would be closed.

Superintendent Tom Wilsie said the item will be on the meeting agenda.

``With that out of the way, we have to decide where to go from here,'' Wilsie said. ``I have no idea, though I'm as eager as everybody else to find out.''

Lindsay Earls, her sister and a third student, Tecumseh High School students, sued the school board for allegedly violating their Fourth Amendment rights by requiring certain students to submit to drug testing.

``My first priority is to make sure that Lindsay's sister, Lacey, doesn't have to face any drug tests,'' said Graham Boyd, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union. ``For her sake, I'd like to have a definite ruling that they cannot drug test her.

``On the other hand, if the Supreme Court does take the case, I'll welcome the opportunity to argue Lindsay was right and I think they'll rule in our favor if they take it.''

Lindsay has said she hopes the school board asks the Supreme Court to hear the case.

``If it goes all the way to the Supreme Court, there will be a ruling that will stand for the entire country and not just here in this area,'' she said.

Linda Meoli, the school's attorney, said she would follow the school board's instructions about whether to ask the Supreme Court to hear the case or to drop it.

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