Do colleges have a right to mandate all students pass drug tests? The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri has argued that it's an unconstitutional practice -- and it seems a federal judge agrees in the case of one local college.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit in 2011 against Linn State Technical College after the school mandated that all incoming students submit to a new mandatory drug-testing policy. And on Friday, a judge issued an official order, on view below, blocking the college's controversial requirement.
"Today's decision affirms the privacy and personal dignity of hundreds of students who were forced to supply their college with urine samples before they could take any classes," Tony Rothert, legal director of ACLU-EM says in a statement.
Will the college continue the fight?
Donald Claycomb, president of Linn State, tells Daily RFT via a spokesman that as of late Friday afternoon, the college has not had an opportunity to consult with its attorneys and was not ready to comment.
But previous court documents and reports show that the college is interested in maintaining some sort of drug screening program, in part because of the technical focus of Linn State, which says industry leaders support this kind of testing. The college is Missouri's only public two-year technical college with a statewide mission and has locations in Linn, Mexico and Jefferson City.
Back in 2011, around 500 students were tested, prompting the ACLU to launch a federal lawsuit arguing that this blanket drug screening without reasonable suspicion was illegal.
"Without a compelling need, a search of your bodily fluids is exactly the type of unreasonable search and seizure that the Constitution prevents the government from imposing," Rothert says.
The latest development in this legal battle is a decision from U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey dictating that most of those students cannot have the results of the 2011 drug tests reported to the school. The decision makes an exception for students enrolled in the aviation maintenance, heavy-equipment operations and industrial-electricity programs -- but those who are a part of the roughly 30 other programs, cannot be drug tested at this time.
Continue for more details on the decision and Linn State's defense.