College's mandatory drug tests challenged

Sept. 15, 2011 at 10:06 PM
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The American Civil Liberties Union has challenged the constitutionality of a Missouri college's policy requiring students to submit to mandatory drug tests.

The ACLU and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri filed a federal class-action suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri challenging the policy at the two-year, publicly funded Linn State Technical College, which requires the drug tests as a condition of enrollment.

"It is unconstitutional to force students to submit to a drug test when there is zero indication of any kind of criminal activity," Jason Williamson, staff attorney with the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project, said in a news release. "The college has demonstrated no legitimate need to drug test its students that outweighs their constitutionally protected privacy rights. This is an unprecedented policy, and nothing like it has ever been sanctioned by the courts."

The ACLU said there have been "no documented problems with drugs in the college's 50-year history and no reason to suspect that the students being tested have used illegal drugs."

The policy, adopted this month, requires all first-year students seeking a degree or certificate, as well as those returning to the college after a leave of a semester or more, to submit to a urine drug test, for which they must pay $50.

Those whose tests come back positive will be dismissed from the college unless they take a second test within 45 days. Students whose second test is positive will be dismissed from the college, the ACLU said.

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