A federal court in Massachusetts has agreed to dismiss a lawsuit filed by parents who claimed they had been forced to use their children’s kindergarten screening test as a pretext for using condoms.
The ruling is the latest in a string of federal rulings that have forced states to reconsider their mandatory screening protocols.
The Obama administration, however, continues to push for expanded testing requirements that would include both condoms and a blood test to screen for gonorrhea and syphilis.
In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that states could use mandatory screenings for gonorrhoea and syphillis as a reason to refuse to comply with the court order to stop using condoms in schools.
“We have long said that schools should be a safe place for students, and we believe the district’s decision is consistent with that position,” Sue Stoddard, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said in a statement.
“The court did not address whether the state’s requirement would violate a student’s constitutional rights.”
The court also rejected a petition to overturn the decision, saying it “is not necessary to resolve the underlying constitutional issues before this case goes to trial.”
The appeals court ruling comes just two weeks after Massachusetts lawmakers introduced legislation requiring that all students in public schools be screened for gonococcal disease, the bacteria that causes gonorrhoea.
That bill has already passed the House and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker in the coming weeks.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Mass.
filed a similar lawsuit against the state of Texas earlier this year, claiming it violated the Constitution by forcing the state to force its students to be tested for STIs in public.
Last year, the American Bar Association also issued a warning to states that have mandated mandatory testing in schools, urging them to consider the impact on students’ constitutional rights.