Students at Linn State Technical College were met with a new and unnecessary drug testing policy on Sept 7. The tests will be included in student fees at a cost of $50 and will test for 11 drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.
Even if it is a technical college, using a drug test to determine whether someone should be able to attend school is creating a barrier to education that has nothing to do with a person’s ability to excel in a particular career specialization.
Instead of using that money to pay for drug tests, the money could be used towards improving other aspects of the school. I think some of the fees that students already have to pay are unnecessary and just a way for the school to get more money.
“I don’t think colleges should use drug screens on students for admissions,” Aerolyn Shaw, senior public relations major, said. “It would lengthen the admissions process as well as possibly increase the application fee among other fees.”
According to school leaders, the tests are necessary for student safety since some coursework includes aircraft maintenance.
According to Alan Zagier, writer for the Huffington Post, the decisions to invoke this policy have rubbed some people the wrong way, who call it “a constitutional violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful searches and seizures, an invasion of privacy and a likely lawsuit target.”
A week later after its introduction, a federal judge temporarily suspended the school from drug testing when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Eastern Missouri filed suit on Sept. 14 on behalf of six students at Linn State Technical College.
Richard Pemberton, associate dean of Student Affairs, said results from a survey the school conducted show that hundreds of local employers are overwhelming supportive of a requirement which these same students will encounter in the job market.
Although it seems like the school is trying to prepare its students for something they will encounter when they have to go out in the world and use their skills to get a job, some people may not even be able to attend school to learn what they need to get a job in the first place with this policy.
If a student tests positive, they will be allowed to stay in school, but on probation, and must test clean after 45 days while also doing an online drug-prevention course. If they test negative the next time they are tested, they will remain on probation until the conclusion of the semester and will be subject to a random follow-up test.
Drugs are bad, but the consequences that people have to face, like probation or possible expulsion from school because of the abuse, shouldn’t coincide with their education. You can’t get very far in life without an education. Teachers, faculty members and adults who have already gone out into the job market know this—so why keep our generation of students and future generations from getting the same, or better opportunities?