Mandatory drug testing at some colleges

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Students at Linn State Technical College in Missouri submitted to a professionally administered urine test and paid a non-refundable $50 to do so, becoming the first students required to take a drug test at a public 2-year college in order to attend.

Students had no complaints about the testing and half of the 1,176 students gave samples before an injunction was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union 7 days after the tests began on Sept 7, 2011, according to reports from Linn State’s web site and the ACLU web site.

“We believe we are doing what is best for our students in light of the environment they are in from the standpoint of safety and preparation for the world of work,” Linn State President Donald Claycomb said in an address posted on the school’s web site. “We also believe we are doing what is best for the taxpayer as well as business and industry.”

Claycomb also said that students and their families were told when they were recruited at orientation and again at the start of classes that they would be drug tested. Students could request a waiver from testing.

Linn State hasn’t had problems with drugs, according to their web site, but the school offers courses in heavy equipment, nuclear technology, aeronautics programs and other sensitive paths of study.

If a student is found to have one of 11 drugs, including cocaine and marijuana in their test, they would be provided assistance to “clean up”, Claycomb said in the address. Students would then retest 45 days later.

Being under the influence “has been proven to have been a critical factor in accidents in the workplace,” according to Title 42 of the US Code.

After interviewing a dozen students and staff at CRC, more than half were against drug testing for no reason.

“I do not believe that mandatory drug testing should apply to any individual who has not had a prior incident,” said a psychology major Lisa Jett-Gallup, 50. “As an individual, certain rights need to be maintained.”

Privacy is addressed in the Linn State drug testing guidelines found on their web site and negative results will not be recorded on transcripts, nor will they be reported to any authorities.

Some students interviewed, like 19-year-old Lady Ambol, a general education major, said they think drug testing for people getting assistance is a good idea.

“Before I immigrated here to the United States, it required me to give some of my blood and urine for drug testing,” Ambol said. “In the Philippines they are very strict when it comes to that.”

Policy makers in more than half the states have proposed mandatory drug testing for people receiving unemployment, welfare and other government assistance, according the The New York Times.

It is happening at another community college; could it happen here?

“CRC already has strict drug use policies. We do not require drug testing for school loans or even to attend, even though all students here are receiving aid in the form of state subsidy,” said a Professor of humanities at CRC, Kim Codella.  He believes Cosumnes River College would not implement mandatory drug testing not because of policy, but because it would never get funded.

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