A Drug Testing Lawsuit

There’s an update to the bizarre case of Linn State Technical College, a community college in Missouri that recently announced a plan to test all of its new students for cocaine, methamphetamines, oxycodone, and eight other drugs. That’s probably not going to happen.

According to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

A Missouri college’s comprehensive drug-testing plan for students will stay on hold after a federal judge extended a temporary restraining order. U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey in Jefferson City granted a temporary restraining order in September, and issued a ruling Tuesday that extends the restraining order through Nov. 8.

Laughrey did not issue a written ruling but while speaking in court expressed doubt that the drug policy would pass constitutional muster, said Jason Williamson, an attorney for the ACLU [which filed suit in September] challenging the constitutionality of the drug testing. “She had some pretty clear things to say about the problems with Linn State’s proposed program,” Williamson said. “I think they’d have to put on some extraordinary additional evidence to change her mind.”

The ACLU says that the drug testing is needless and violates students’ Fourth Amendment right to unreasonable searches and seizures. Linn State, which planned to charge students $50 each to administer the drug testing, says tests are necessary because their “students operate heavy machinery.”

Linn State appears to be the only college in the United States that’s so far attempted to institute such a comprehensive intervention into students’ personal lives.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer