Larry v. Lockney

When Larry Tannahill and the ACLU challenge a proposal for mandatory drug testing in schools, they're met with hostility and ostracism.

Larry v lockney 01
POV, True Stories
Premiere Date
July 1, 2003
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2002 Deep Ellum Film Festival -Best Documentary
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2002 One World International Film Festival, Prague -Telly Award
  • Producer

    Mark Birnbaum

    Mark Birnbaum’s documentary credits include films for The Discovery Channel and public television, and a prestigious Peabody Award. His most recent productions include ¡Salsa Caliente!; Polar Opposites; The Faithful Revolution: Vatican II, a five-hour series for PBS; Of Two Minds; Las Mujeres del Valle; and The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. He is currently developing three projects, Before the Fall: Riding the Wave of Cuban Art, an untitled biopic on blues great Howlin’ Wolf, and seven short films for a new, state-of-the-art museum of Dallas history. Birnbaum, a Baltimore native, lives in Dallas.


    Jim Schermbeck

    Jim Schermbeck has been a community organizer in Texas since 1977, working with Public Citizen and the National Toxics Campaign. From 1996 to 1999, he was executive director of Downwinders at Risk, and has written and produced several short films, including Danger Downwind, on the environmental and health risks of burning hazardous waste in cement plants. He is a Fort Worth native and currently lives in Slaton, Texas.

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    The Film

    Meet Larry Tannahill. Out of 2,000 residents in the West Texas town of Lockney, he’s the only one against the school board’s new mandatory drug testing policy. Larry, a third-generation farmer, believes the testing is a violation of his son’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches. He sues to overturn the policy, forming an unlikely alliance with the American Civil Liberties Union. In the battle over rights, Larry makes headlines around the country, loses his job and his family receives threats. Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck’s Larry v. Lockney dramatically reveals the price of democracy in a small Texas town, when one man stands against the majority.