September 13, 2013
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Sept. 13, U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey ruled the mandatory drug testing policy at Linn State Technical College is unconstitutional as applied to most students.
In 2011, Linn State Technical College, in Linn, Mo., began a policy requiring all incoming students to submit to drug testing, even though there were no documented problems with drugs in the college’s 50-year history. The ACLU filed a lawsuit in 2011 charging that the mandatory policy was unconstitutional, and a court-ordered injunction prevented the college from testing while the case was being tried.
“Like most Americans, Missourians are tired of the War on Drugs and policies that assume that everyone is guilty of illegal drug use,” said Jeffrey Mittman, the American Civil Liberty Union of Eastern Missouri’s executive director. “The court recognized that illusory safety concerns can be used ‘to mask unconstitutional purposes.’”
“Forcing students to provide urine samples violates their constitutional rights,” says Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU-EM. “To make matters worse, students had to pay the college $50 each for the tests that violated their privacy.”
In Judge Laughrey’s 62-page decision, she ruled that with the exception of students in a mere handful of programs, mandatory drug testing of college students is unconstitutional.
Rothert estimates that at least 450 of the 500 Linn State students who were forced to provide a specimen will receive a refund of their $50. In addition, their samples will be either destroyed or returned.