ACLU Issues Official Demand for Governor to Halt Random Drug Testing of Educators
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HONOLULU – The American Civil Liberties Union served Governor Lingle a formal demand letter today calling for an end to the State’s plan to randomly drug test many public school employees, including teachers and librarians. The ACLU has so far been contacted by more than 150 educators seeking to challenge the random drug testing policy.
“A growing group of educators have made it clear that they won’t be bullied into abandoning their constitutional rights,” said Vanessa Chong, Executive Director of the ACLU of Hawaii. “Everyday we hear from more educators committed to turning back the Governor’s heavy-handed assault on privacy.”
Delivery of the demand letter marked the culmination of a weeklong, statewide public education and fact-finding mission by the ACLU, which included face-to-face meetings with scores of educators ready to bring a legal challenge against the random drug testing policy.
The plan to randomly drug test educators absent any suspicion was instituted at the insistence of Governor Lingle during recent contract negotiations with the Hawaii State Teachers Association. As the deadline loomed to end negotiations, the Governor made clear that she would refuse to sign any contract that lacked mandatory, random drug testing.
In addition to being demonstrably ineffective and exceedingly costly, according to the ACLU, random drug testing violates Hawaii educators’ constitutional right to privacy and teaches an abject civics lesson to Hawaii’s students.
Critics of the blanket testing policy also point out that provisions already exist to drug test any educator who arouses suspicion of drug use.
“If Governor Lingle thought she could score political points at the expense of educators’ constitutional rights, she miscalculated severely,” said Graham Boyd, Director of the National ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. “Scarce education dollars should not be frittered away for a false sense of security.”
Educators interested in contacting the ACLU may visit us on the web at: www.aclu.org/teachersjoinus.
Educators may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free (888) 9-JoinUs.
All information received by the ACLU will be kept strictly confidential.
The ACLU demand letter is available online at: www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/testing/32086lgl20071004.html.
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