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Judge Extends Temporary Restraining Order on Missouri College Drug Testing Program

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A judge has extended a ban on a mandatory drug-testing program for students at a technical college in Missouri until at least February.

The Associated Press reports U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey set a hearing for February 3 on whether to issue a permanent injunction.

Linn State Technical College called for mandatory drug screening for all first-year students and some returning students for drugs including cocaine, methamphetamines and oxycodone.

In September, Judge Laughrey issued a temporary restraining order that ran through November 8. Last week, she extended the ban. The initial restraining order was in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which claimed the program violates students’ constitutional rights against unlawful searches and seizures.

According to the AP, court records indicate the college has agreed not to collect or test urine samples while the restraining order remains in effect.

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 were positive, he or she would meet with a counselor, and could participate in an online substance abuse program. The student would then be required to take a second scheduled test and a third random test. If both subsequent tests were negative, the student could continue to be enrolled at the school and all test results would be destroyed at the end of the semester.

The school says under the drug testing program, any student who refused to take a drug test would be administratively withdrawn from the school, unless they successfully petition the school’s president not to participate.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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