Missouri School to Drug Test Entire Student Body. Seriously.

Update: The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against Linn State Technical College.

When I saw this story in my Google news alerts today, I thought for sure there must be some mistake. Nope, no mistake. Linn State Technical College, a 1,200-student two-year college just outside of Jefferson City, Missouri, plans to require all incoming freshmen to submit to mandatory urinalysis drug testing. The screening will test for 11 drugs, including marijuana, and students who test positive will be kicked out unless they test clean after 45 days and take a drug-prevention course or engage in other unspecified activities. For good measure, students will have to pay $50 for the tests themselves (no word on whether the test actually costs $50) and will not be reimbursed if they pass.

It’s an unprecedented invasion of privacy – no public college has ever required mandatory drug testing of its entire student body. There are some high schools that drug test students, mostly those participating in sports and other extra-curricular activities, as the Supreme Court has upheld suspicionless drug testing in only limited circumstances. Not surprisingly, evidence shows that making students pee in a cup is not an effective deterrent of drug use.

Ironically, the college claims it’s testing its students to help them prepare for their life after school in the United States where it claims most employers drug test. As the ACLU rightly points out, there’s no reason an institution of higher learning can’t accomplish this by, you know, educating their students. And for the record, I’m an attorney, I’ve held at least six jobs since graduating from college, and I’ve never been forced to take and pass a drug test as a precondition of employment.

Speaking of the ACLU, if you or someone you know is a student at Linn State, they’re looking for plaintiffs to help challenge this policy in court. Hopefully some good old-fashioned public outcry will solve this problem without the help of courts.

17 thoughts on “Missouri School to Drug Test Entire Student Body. Seriously.”

  1. I was hoping it was a mistake also when I saw the alert, but nope…crazy times we live in…. I am now 37 and have worked in variety of professional settings in Wisconsin and have never had to pass a drug test to get hired, but based off some of our conversations with business owners in Wisconsin, they would rather see patients using marijuana at the work place rather than most of the prescription drugs that float freely from doctors and pharmacies alike.

  2. Please don’t say “test clean” since we have ample evidence that marijuana does not make a person “dirty.” Please say “test positive” and “test negative.”

    I know that’s the jargon the industry uses, which to me, means all the more why we should reject it!

    You should also make note of the fact many people will test positive although they haven’t been enjoying the herb. I have a “Ask Marilyn Savant” from many years ago which covers this but have not posted the scan of it; perhaps soon I guess.

    She goes into specifics with numbers, and even rebuts people who wrote her who represent the drug testing companies.

    The brainwashing propaganda crap on drugabuse.gov, they believe, gives them license. All those evil websites need to come down. I would say that they are standing the wrong place to begin with, their arguments are that cannabis is only bad and that no one should be using it; clearly their position is founded on lies.

    But I guess that since our courts have found that lies are acceptable and they go along with the executive and legislative branches to ram evil lies down our throats, the next best way to try to counter them is with another perspective on the constitution which they show so much contempt for.

  3. Testing Negative on a Urinalysis test is not most people’s idea of “fitting into society.” Well over half of the U.S. has clearly demonstrated the desires of it’s people. I predict in the long run that this 2 Year School demanding drug testing will fail legally. Just like here in my little town of Cookeville, TN, some people think they can rally citizens on being drug free. Never going to happen here or any where else, there’s too many who will protest, choose another college or bring legal action against the School till they agree it’s better to have stoner students than NOT ENOUGH STUDENTS. Damn! This is how they pay their bills, “Do Not Bite the hand that feeds you,” am I right?

  4. Not to mention that drug tests are completely ineffective if announced ahead of time. All you have to do is abstain from using for a few days or maybe a week, and you’ll pass (unless you’re a really heavy smoker, in which case it might take 2-3 weeks). The test won’t catch anybody who actually wants to get in to this place.

  5. Fox News has a YouTube page asking for questions to put to REP candidates on 9/22/11.

    However, they are banning certain questions, mostly about pot and legalization.

    They are banning questions that pertain to BIG PHARMA, like how does BIG PHARMA get away with a 550,000% markup on all their drugs.

    And they banned my latest question:

    UPDATE ON FOX YOUTUBE POLL:

    Now they won’t post ANY OF MY QUESTIONS.

    This was the latest rejection:

    “House Speaker John Boehner, a drug addict, is against the legalization of marijuana. I thought drug addicts were a detriment to society. As House Speaker, he has been a detriment to the country. Why do we allow drug addicts to become House Speaker?”

    FOX NEWS is a GOVERNMENT/BIG PHARMA subsidized network.

  6. A federal class action lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri charging Linn State Technical College with violating their students’ right to privacy, forcing them to submit to drug tests. At this publicly funded university, even attendees with clean academic and criminal backgrounds are forced to undergo urinalysis at their own expense, revealing private medical histories such as pregnancies and current prescriptions. This is information that students have a right to protect, according to the ACLU.

    This new policy requires all first-year students as well as those returning after a semester or more of absence to pay $50 for the test. They are then removed from class to submit their urine for analysis as soon as the day following implementation of the rule. Students failing to submit to the test would be dismissed from college, and those testing positive after their first go around will be required to re-submit in 45 days. If the results are again positive, the student will be dismissed without refunding their tuition.

    A highly contentious issue, conflicting statistics report success rates as high as 6% according to the Institute of Educational Sciences and as low as -2% according to Monitoring the Future, the leading survey by the federal government of trends in student drug use and attitudes about drugs. This begs the question: Is mandatory drug testing even effective in the first place? Urinalysis screenings are designed to map certain trace elements remaining after the break down of target substances. A SAMHSA 5 panel, for example, tests for 5 drugs (marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines/methamphetamines, opiates and phencyclidine) by taking two samples of urine, conducting a preliminary immunoassay testing of one sample and, if markers for any of the five drugs are found, the second sample is submitted to a gas chromatography test to confirm presence of any markers indicating drug use.

    These markers are called metabolites and part of the reason for the ineffectiveness of mandatory drug tests is the nature of metabolites themselves. In the case of almost every drug on the panel except for marijuana, the metabolites disappear within as little as 12 hours to as long a week. THC, on the other hand, metabolizes slowly through the break down of fat stored in the body and is detectable up to 45 days after consumption, arguably making the least dangerous substance the only one urinalysis effectively detects. And with the right preparation or access to clean urine and a Whizzinator, almost anyone can pass a drug test, even monitored. This makes urinalysis less a test for illegal substance use than a marijuana detector which doesn’t generally succeed at deterring anyone from anything.

    So why would a students be upset to submit to a drug test if they’re not using illegal substances? Cost, for one, as the students are required to pay for the testing out of pocket. Second, in order to prevent the incursion of false positives (the presence of target metabolites due to non-illegal substances), a medical history is required of the participant. This includes everything from headache pills to birth control and involves revealing personal information that typically remains between a doctor and their patient. Finally there is the humiliation involved with being removed from class, being forced to pee into a cup and hoping that the weed you smoked over summer break isn’t going to get you kicked out of school at a loss of one semester’s tuition. This represents a civil rights outrage affecting students across the state and, depending upon the outcome of the trial, publicly funded universities nationally.

    “This is an invasive policy that requires people to submit to tests that reveal private and intimate things like medical conditions or whether they are pregnant that people have a right to protect,” said Anthony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri in a recent press release.

    Substance abuse counsellors and the incorporation of drug awareness in the classroom have been shown as being cheaper, less invasive, and quite possibly more effective. In the case of businesses promoting safety, many accidents can be blamed on fatigue and stress rather than substance abuse, making drug tests highly questionable for maintaining a competent work force. Alternative methods such as PC-based performance tests cheaply measure the employee’s ability to maintain their baseline scores for the job that day. If they fail, they are either reassigned or sent home.

    In spite of this, urinalysis is widely used by military and probation officers to monitor drug use in their respective organizations. But unlike those in the military, students submitting to the test are not signing up with a federal organization and operating firearms, and unlike those on probation, have to test regardless of whether or not they are suspected of drug use. Given this infringement of civil liberties, cost to the student body and proven history of sub-marginal success at best, the ACLU hopes that the first public university to require mandatory drug testing of students is also the last.

    Rothert adds, “A person’s privacy should not be invaded like this, especially when they have done nothing wrong.”

    -Theodore O. Lawrence

  7. Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. No one would want their child kicked out of school over a positive test for marijuana. None of us would want our child thrown in jail with the sexual predators over marijuana. None of us would want to see an older family member’s home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants for their aches and pains. It’s time to stop putting our own family members in jail over marijuana.
    If ordinary Americans could grow a little marijuana in their own back yards, it would be about as valuable as home-grown tomatoes. Let’s put the criminals out of business and get them out of our neighborhoods. Let’s let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards.

  8. I am shaking my head in disgust. If I think too much about these power-hungry, money-hungry “authorities” I would get way too angry! It is so frustrating that we have to be careful how we breathe or someone will be on our back about it. I have teenagers and you know teenagers are going to do silly things, and I almost don’t dare let them out the door for fear they will get caught doing some little stupid thing and then we will all pay for it for some time to come. Why do we have to live in fear of our government for making a mistake that is hurting no one?

  9. Actually, I suspect that many of the people that hire graduates from Linn Tech do require you to pass a drug test as part of the employment process. Another thing to consider is this is a vocational college. Do you really want a student body impaired while working in a robotics class with industrial robots or working with power tools or on high voltage electrical systems? Wise up! This is just as much about safety as it is preparing for the work force.

  10. This is a respone to Paul Juckniess:
    Drug testing and safety is not always a related issue. People who partake in marijuana are especially offended by drug tests because it is easier to fail, as discussed by previous comments, due to it’s ability to store in fat cells. This means despite not being high, you can still test positive for THC. So, if you were sitting at home saturday evening smoking a joint and watching a movie then went to bed(effecting no one’s safety), it’s easily possible to test positive on monday. Therefore, using safety as a justification for this mandatory drugtesting is not plausable. Perhaps we should also start running mandatory sleep studies as well if we are concerned about safetety, because sleep deprivation can make one very impaired. So let’s start testing everyone that has a cup of coffee in the morning.
    This country is ridiculous. This is why I’m studying to be a pharmacy tech, because these types of restrictions are forcing people to their doctor to get a script for xanax and lortab.

  11. Drug testing is discrimination. I had a roomate in college that was constantly stoned. He also aced every class in his major and is a very $ucessful engineer. Let a persons performance determine if he is college/employment elligible. I have worked with many “legal” pill poppers and alcoholics that come in hung over. The are f-ups and they get away with being impaired on the job. This is BS.

  12. Hey guys, take you education else where and see how quick they back off that idea !

    O.T.
    I hear Newt Gingrich made his 21st century “contract with America”. In this, he apparently said if he is voted president, he will sign 150 executive orders. One of which he said he will get rid of all the czars….really?

    So, I would like everyone to contact Newt and ask him if that means getting rid of the drug czar as well. Bet he backs out….or lies.

    Hers the story.

    http://news.yahoo.com/newt-gingrich-detail-contract-america-143300860.html
    Heres his site.

    http://www.newt.org/get-involved-now

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