Blog of Rights

Got Urine? ACLU Sues College Over Mandatory Drug Testing

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 5:12pm

Today the ACLU filed suit in federal court to stop Linn State Technical College, a public college in Missouri, from drug testing all of their incoming students with no suspicion of wrongdoing. Six brave students have stood up to administrators to demand that their Fourth Amendment rights not be violated, and that this senseless intrusion must end.

On Sept. 7, Linn State officials began removing students from class in small groups in order to collect a urine sample for drug screening. Mind you, we are talking about adults over the age of 18 who have committed no crime, and whom the college has stated they do not suspect of drug use. But that did not matter to school officials, as student after student was treated with suspicion and as if they had broken the law. Oh, and they had to pay a non-refundable $50 fee for the privilege of being treated like this.

In conversations with the ACLU, Linn State claimed that, as a technical college, their students operate heavy machinery and that, as a result, drug testing served as a way to help keep them safe. Not quite. The truth is that not a single one of our six plaintiffs operates heavy machinery as part of their academic training. They are enrolled in programs like Electronics Engineering Technology and Design Drafting Technology and merely want to be able to go to school and earn a degree without being treated as if they have broken the law.

Our complaint demands that Linn State rescind their unconstitutional drug testing policy, refrain from testing anymore students, halt any analysis of the urine samples already collected, and return the $50 they charged all students.

But this case goes beyond Linn State. We filed our complaint in federal court not to just stop Linn State, but to stop any other college that thinks they can drug test their student body. It is illegal and they cannot.

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