The New Course Req: Missouri College Demands that All New Students Take Drug Test

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AP

Linn State Technical College, a public two-year school in central Missouri, is kicking off the school year with a new requirement.

In a move considered unprecedented for a public college, the school is mandating that all incoming students submit a urine sample. The drug screenings also apply to returning students who have taken off a semester or more.

(MORE: Why ER Docs Test for Illegal Drugs Without Consent)

The rule has raised red flags among civil libertarians who call the tests an invasion of privacy and a violation of Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful searches and seizures. The Missouri Civil Liberties Association said it will legally challenge the requirement if necessary.

But officials from the 1,200-student school defended the decision by saying it’s for the safety of the students, many of whom will be learning to perform dangerous jobs such as aircraft maintenance and heavy-engine repair. The school also stressed that the screenings will better prepare students to enter workplaces where drug testing is routine. The new policy, however, extends also to students studying more bookish subjects such as accounting and math.

The screening tests for 11 drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and oxycodone. But it’s not the most strenuous policy — most students will only get tested once, after all. And they won’t get kicked out for testing positive, at least not immediately, but will need to test clean after 45 days and take a drug-prevention course or engage in other unspecified activities. (via AP)

MORE: Drug Testing the Poor: Bad Policy, Even Worse Law

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