“Embarrassed and humiliated”
Lawsuit filed after 12-year-old says she was forced to undergo pregnancy test at school
News release from Pacific Justice Institute
A lawsuit has been filed against the Nevada City School District after a counselor forced a student to take a pregnancy test at school without her parents' knowledge or consent. The student is represented by affiliate and staff attorneys of Pacific Justice Institute.
In late March of 2008, Steve Davis, a counselor at Seven Hills Middle School, pulled the student, “C.R.,” (whose name is being kept confidential) out of class. Mr. Davis had heard rumors spread by another student that “C.R.” was pregnant and demanded to know whether it was true. “C.R.” denied she was pregnant and noted that false rumors had been spread about her in the past. Instead of accepting “C.R.'s” denial, or contacting her parents, the counselor got a pregnancy test from the school nurse and ordered “C.R.” into a bathroom to give a urine sample. Feeling that she did not have a choice, “C.R.” reluctantly complied. The test was negative. “C.R.” was embarrassed and humiliated. When she later told her parents about the incident, they were livid. Even after the fact, the school never communicated with “C.R.'s” parents about the pregnancy test.
“C.R.'s” family contacted Troy Vahidi, an affiliate attorney of Pacific Justice Institute. Mr. Vahidi and PJI staff attorneys sought an apology from the school district, to no avail. The lawsuit, filed in Nevada County Superior Court, seeks damages for violation of “C.R,'s” right to privacy, as well as emotional distress. In filing the lawsuit, Mr. Vahidi commented, "The school counselor had no right to force an emotionally fragile twelve-year-old to take a pregnancy test. She was humiliated, and her privacy rights were trampled. Every minor has the right to make sensitive decisions such as taking a pregnancy test in consultation with her parents and medical providers."
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, agreed. "Parents have enough to worry about with sex education being taught in public schools without now having to wonder whether their daughters will be forced to take pregnancy tests. This was a clear breach of parental trust."
(Editor’s Note: According to the local newspaper, The Union, Roger Steel, Superintendent of the Nevada City School District, denied the charges. “There is no merit to the claim,” he told the Union. “The district has never had pregnancy test kits on the school site.”)