United States: Supreme Court Rejects Missouri Tech College Drug Test Bid

Supreme Court

This case establishes -- once and for all -- that under the Fourth Amendment, every person has the right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure, including college students

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Monday, The US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from the State Technical College of Missouri regarding an appeals court ruling that its mandatory drug testing policy is unconstitutional when applied to all students. With the refusal to intervene, the nation's highest court brought an end the six-year legal dispute with State Technical College of Missouri, formerly known as Linn State Technical College.

Tony Rothert with the ACLU of Missouri, who filed the class-action lawsuit in 2011, is encouraged by the outcome. “There have not been other public colleges, even public technical colleges, that have followed suit. I think it really shows that the drug testing program was a solution looking for a problem,” says Rothert. “If there’s a reason to believe that someone is under the influence of drugs and dangerous, schools have quite a bit of latitude, even public schools, to subject that person to a drug test. This was without suspicion, just requiring everyone to submit a urine sample. That would have been unprecedented.”

"This case establishes -- once and for all -- that under the Fourth Amendment, every person has the right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure, including college students," the ACLU, said in a statement.

Shawn Strong, President of Missouri Tech College, said the school "will now look at modifying our policies to comply with the (8th Circuit's) ruling."

"Before embarking on this course the college realized it might be called upon to defend its efforts to protect Missouri's college students from the physical dangers and economic perils of illicit drug use," Strong said. "The courts have confirmed our right to drug test a number of our technical programs."

The school is still allowed to drug test students involved in dangerous curricular activities, including aviation maintenance and industrial electricity.

State Technical College of Missouri includes about 1,200 students.

Photo Source: ABC News