Federal court upholds State Tech student drug screenings

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A technical college in central Missouri can require all students to take drug tests, a federal appeals court panel has ruled.

The St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its 2-1 ruling Monday. At issue was a lawsuit that the American Civil Liberties Union filed after the State Technical College of Missouri in Linn began drug testing all first-year students and some returning students in 2011.

"From day one, our motivation was to do what was best for our students," the college's president, Don Claycomb, said in a statement.

The ACLU claimed the school's widespread drug testing violated students' Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful searches and seizures.

A federal judge ruled in 2013 that the two-year technical school could use drug tests only in five specific programs. The appeals court ruled that the decision was too narrow, the Jefferson City News Tribune (http://bit.ly/1maJ3SP ) reported.

Judge C. Arlen Beam said in the appellate ruling that testing of the entire student population was reasonable and constitutional. He wrote that the college's roughly 1,200 students "are primarily engaged in safety-sensitive and potentially dangerous curriculum due to the unique nature of this particular vocational and technical college and its limited focus."

Messages seeking comment from the ACLU's St. Louis office on Wednesday were not returned.


Information from: Jefferson City News Tribune, http://www.newstribune.com

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