Three more girls have joined an NYCLU lawsuit against school officials for unconstitutionally forcing a group of girls from I.S. 164 in Washington Heights to undergo intrusive and highly private medical examinations. The three new plaintiffs are in addition to two graduates of I.S. 164 represented by the NYCLU in the lawsuit, initially filed on July 8, 2003.
“The school system could have stopped this from happening but didn’t,” said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU Executive Director. The Amended Complaint, filed today in federal court in Manhattan, details how I.S. 164 administrators were advised that their actions were illegal, yet nonetheless persisted in demanding confidential test results. The local District was similarly informed that administrators were making illegal demands of the students but failed to correct the situation.
“The school’s actions took a grave toll on our clients,” said Rebekah Diller, Director of the NYCLU’s Reproductive Rights Project. One family sent their 14-year-old daughter to live with relatives in the Dominican Republic rather than continue to subject her to public humiliation and the school’s illegal demands. This withdrawal from school, a mere two months before graduation, means she must repeat the eighth grade. She and the two other new plaintiffs, who are 14- and 15-year-old graduates of I.S. 164, are identified with pseudonyms to protect them from further embarrassment, given the highly private nature of this case.
The lawsuit resulted from an incident in mid-April of 2003, after a group of eighth-grade girls allegedly skipped school on a Friday to attend a “hooky party.” When they returned to school, the students were pulled from classes and interrogated by school officials and police officers. The girls were told that they could not return to class unless they underwent medical examinations for pregnancy, STDs and HIV and disclosed the results of those highly private exams to school administrators.
The Amended Complaint in Doe v. Reid is available here in PDF format.