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Judge Extends Temporary Ban on Missouri College Drug Testing

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A federal judge has extended a temporary ban on a Missouri college’s mandatory drug testing program.

Linn State Technical College has called for mandatory drug screening for all first-year students and some returning students for drugs including cocaine, methamphetamines and oxycodone. Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit claiming the program violates students’ constitutional rights against unlawful searches and seizures.

In September, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey granted a temporary restraining order to halt the program. This week she issued a ruling that extends the order through November 8, the Associated Press reports.

The college instituted its drug testing policy following the recommendation of community businesses likely to hire the school’s students. According to the policy, if a student’s drug test is positive, he or she will meet with a counselor, and can participate in an online substance abuse program. The student is then required to take a second scheduled test and a third random test. If both subsequent tests are negative, the student can continue to be enrolled at the school and all test results are destroyed at the end of the semester.

The school says under the drug testing program, any student who refuses to take a drug test would be administratively withdrawn from the school, unless they successfully petition the school’s president not to participate. A lawyer for the school noted many students are in training programs that deal with high-voltage electricity, heavy equipment operations, or dangerous chemicals.

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