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Mandatory drug testing at Missouri technical college is banned by appeals court

The State Technical College of Missouri, where a federal appeals court has banned mandatory drug testing.
The State Technical College of Missouri, where a federal appeals court has banned mandatory drug testing.

Mandatory drug testing of students at a two-year technical college in Linn, Mo., has been banned by a federal appeals court.

The court has reinstated the ban on mandatory drug testing for most students at the State Technical College of Missouri. The decision was the latest ruling in a 5-year-old lawsuit.

The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Associated Press reported that by a 9-2 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit overturned an earlier decision by a three-judge panel of the court.

The Court of Appeals decision restores the original 2013 trial judge decision on the lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2011. That decision barred the college, then known as Linn State Technical College, from mandatory drug testing of all its students.

At that time Judge Nanette K. Laughrey of the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City said the college could only test students enrolled in programs with public safety concerns, such as heavy machinery and aviation maintenance.

The college argued that drug testing prepared students for a drug-free work environment. But in its latest ruling, the court countered that such a drug testing policy ignored Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches, requiring school officials to have probable cause or warrants before administering such tests.

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc

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