Court finds mandatory drug testing of students at a Missouri col - KMOV.com

Court finds mandatory drug testing of students at a Missouri college unconstitutional

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

JEFFERSON CITY (KMOV.com) -- A story News 4 started following five years ago on a legal battle over if a Missouri college could drug test all of its students has come full circle.

In 2011, The American Civil Liberties Union started getting calls from State Technical College of Missouri in mid-Missouri from students who were concerned about a policy that new students were to provide urine samples and pay for the test themselves. The college said it was to get them ready for the workplace. 

"They were featured in The New York Times and they were going to set the way for universal drug testing across the country and be leaders. The purpose of this case was to say no, hold on," said ACLU Legal Director Tony Rothert. 

Rothert said he and his team filed a class action law suit immediately in 2011. They got an injunction. In 2013, it went to trial. 

"The drug testing was halted for most of the students except for those involved in very dangerous activities. The school appealed, we initially lost the appeal in the court of appeals," said Rothert. 

But the case was far from over. Last week, a federal appeals court reversed the appeals decision saying drug testing as a condition of enrollment violates the US constitution. 

"Just like a police officer can't stop you and make you provide a urine sample to see if you've been using drugs, a public school can't do that unless there is an extremely good reason," said Rothert. 

In a statement, the college said: "The State Technical College respectfully disagrees with the majority analysis and conclusions and is considering its next step." Kent Brown, legal counsel for the college said that next step is to petition the Supreme Court. 

Rothert said the college was wrong from the get go. 

"I think the whole notion of drug testing program was foolish from the start," he said. 

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