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Old 07-16-2013, 03:27 PM
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Default Should schools be able to drug-test students?

A federal court judge in Missouri said no to Linn State Technical College this year, who have been trying since 2011 to implement a policy that mandates all students be drug tested.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_2937232.html

In 2011, Linn State Technical College(LSTC) implemented a policy under which all applicants and some returning students would have to be drug tested and test clean for cocaine, methamphetamines, oxycodone and eight other drugs, such as popular benzodiazapines(anxiety drugs) like Klonopin, Ativan, or Xanax. They implemented the policy and collected samples from over 500 students, until the ACLU filed suit on behalf of some of the schools students. In the lawsuit, the ACLU contended that the policy violates students' Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful searches and seizures. Said Tony Rothert, the ACLU lawyer handling the case:

Quote:
"The school may have legal backing to drug test students in such areas as aviation maintenance, heavy equipment operations, and industrial electricity programs, but most (Linn State) students aren't enrolled in those riskier pursuits. While Linn Tech might be able to show a need to drug test 20 or 30 students who are enrolled in very specific programs, that does not give them the authority to drug test all of their students. We (The ACLU) are unaware of any public college or university in the U.S. with a similar drug testing program "
So what would become of a student who tested positive for those drugs, according to Linn Tech policy?

1. Upon mutual agreement, the student would be allowed to remain in school if they agreed to take a repeat drug test 45 days later, and tested clean.
2. Mandatory enrollment in an online drug-prevention course.
3. Mandatory probation for the rest of the semester.
4. An unannounced follow-up test.

The obvious problems here are two-fold. While making an argument for cocaine, meth, or marijuana as necessary isn't justifiable, there is an argument to be made for medications such as Ativan, Xanax, or Klonopin for students with chronic anxiety, and Vicodin or Percocet(which is Oxycodone with Tylenol)for students with chronic pain or injuries.

The second problem is this: Students who entered the school under one premise, only to have certain policy changed on them half-way through their enrollment. For incoming students, I actually have no problem with this policy, above problem noted aside. Those students should be able, in my opinion, to get a medical exemption. But if a school wants to set known parameters for incoming students, why shouldn't they be allowed to? If the student is made aware, ahead of time, it would be their choice as to whether to attend. But for students already enrolled? It's a dangerous precedent to start drug-testing them in the middle of their tenure there.

An important note is this: Courts, both federal and state, have upheld more limited drug testing policies, such as those for athletes participating in NCAA sanctioned sports. But this one is unprecedented, and should be coming to trial soon.

My opinion: Why not? If a school wants to prevent future disasters from incoming students regarding certain drugs that have psychological and potentially disastrous effects, such as cocaine and methanphetamines, isn't that in the best interest of the school overall? The school's policy seems reasonable in it's 'punishment' as well. The problem I have is with pain medication and anxiety drugs for students with certain conditions. Those students, at least, should be granted medical exemptions.

As for students already in school, that's tough. It's a slippery slope, but are those drugs any students should be using anyway? By principle, I'm against it, but it's reasonable to expect students to not be using dangerous mind and body altering drugs with possibly dangerous repercussions.

Should colleges and universities have the right to set drug testing policies for incoming students regarding specific drugs?

Should certain students in certain programs, such as handling heavy machinery, be able to be drug tested for safety reasons?

If incoming students are subjected to drug-testing policies, should returning students be subjected to the same?

Any other thoughts or discussion of this story is welcomed.
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:43 PM
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Look at you, all bold again. Well done Lucic!

I would have no problem whatsoever with mandatory drug testing. Why not? If you're clean, you've got nothing to worry about. If you're not, this may be the opportunity to get a younger person clean again. And I think the school has the right to know if there's a drug issue at the school, and take appropriate steps to address it, to avoid a potential disaster before it occurs.

Regarding those with legitimate reasons to be on certain medications such as Prozac, a simple physicians letter would address this, proving the student has a valid prescription and a specific reason to be using the medication. In regards to existing students, that's a little tougher. Maybe the policy needs to be grandfathered in, like visors in the NHL. As of, say, the fall of 2014, drug testing will be mandatory for all students. Those already in attendance prior to the specified date would not be tested (but could be voluntarily if they wanted proof of their drug free status).

Regarding such students as those using heavy machinery or potentially dangerous instruments, drug testing should be mandatory for all, immediately.

I'm not a believer that such drug testing violates anyone's rights. If you don't like the policy, go elsewhere. And if you're clean, you've got nothing to worry about anyway.
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:12 PM
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Unless it's for classes where being clean is a matter of safety I'm not a big fan of drug testing at school. It's not so much an outrage if they do it, frankly I wouldn't lose any sleep over it but I don't think its necessary to give students drug tests unless its a health risk.

I just don't see what business it is of the schools to drug test every single student. So what if a kid smokes pot or does drugs, why does it really matter in the grand scheme of things? To me when schools have things like metal detectors and mandatory drug testing its basically treating the youth like criminals. Overall it's unnecessary and doesn't need to be done. I'm all for doing drug awareness and telling the kids the dangers of drugs but I don't think you have to take it that far.

I smoked pot all the way through university, I also had the best attendance and the highest GPA of my graduating class. They knew I smoked pot but they didn't care either. Why? Because it was my business, my business alone, they knew by that level I already knew the dangers of drugs and most of all it didn't affect them doing their jobs, there was no health risk and I didn't cause trouble.

My best friend however was an electrician dealing with those massive power lines. Him being clean is essential as its an extreme danger to the company he's working for and himself to be working high therefore it makes sense. Now this guy isn't into stuff like that anyways but there's nothing wrong with checking him out because its for everyone's well being, drug testing a computer programmer is just a waste of time and money and there's no good reason to do it.

Besides in my experience if someone has a drug problem they'll get kicked out anyways for missing so much class and having low marks (except for the very few high functioning druggies).
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hatehabsforever View Post
Look at you, all bold again. Well done Lucic!

I would have no problem whatsoever with mandatory drug testing. Why not? If you're clean, you've got nothing to worry about. If you're not, this may be the opportunity to get a younger person clean again.
Some will believe that it's far too simple of an argument, Personally, I think that society has developed a tendency to overcomplicate subjects that are quite simple. I can't begin to count the number of businesses out there who require employees to undergo mandatory drug screenings every once in a while, such as mine. Willingly undergoing these screenings is a requirement of your continued employment. So if a business requires people to take drug tests as a condition of continued employment, why shouldn't a college be allowed to adopt the same measure as a condition of students being allowed to continue their studies at their institution?
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:41 PM
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Private institutions can do whatever they please. State institutions, however, are at the mercy of that pesky Constitution. The ALCU, overzealous as they may be sometimes, is right to fight this battle, and the judge was right to order the injunction.

On a personal level, I say let 'em do their drugs.

We need to get out of the asses of people under 21. Everything's geared towards padding the corners for young people and trying to handhold them through life. Let them learn things the hard way. To paraphrase George Carlin: "the kid who ODs doesn't get to have kids of their own." The ones who enter the workforce will get their fair share of drug tests, take my word for it if you haven't been out there for yourself.

For the students who are just going to regular classes, I can't see the reason why anyone should give a damn if they're smoking pot, snorting cocaine, or popping Adderall. They're (mostly) legal adults and if they get caught partaking in illegal acts, they'll be punished accordingly. The heavy machinery aspect adds a wrinkle, and I'd support testing those who are operating said machinery. Such a safety measure just makes good sense, and as the article says, there's legal backing for such a decision. That said, for the school's over 50 year history they've seemingly gotten by just fine without testing these students either.

The whole thing is a non-issue. No other public universities do it, and no podunk 2-year school is going to change the Fourth Amendment.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:25 PM
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I suppose it depends on how prevalent the drug problem among young people truly is today. If it's really that bad, wouldn't schools be in the best position to do something about it? Especially in view of the notion that so many parents choose to place the blame on schools for so much of what goes wrong with their children, is this the next logical step?

I can understand the ACLU objecting, as there is a question of how far invasions of personal privacy can be taken. But if the drug problem is actually as bad as some make it out to be, what better place to start?

I'm not saying I advocate this, because I don't really know the extent of the problem..... and I ask: who actually does know? We read all types of statistics, but how do you we get accurate figures?

But if the nation really is drowning in a drug problem, school would be a more efficient place than most to deal with it on a large-scale basis.

'Course, we'll watch the school dropout rate soar, won't we?




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Old 07-16-2013, 05:51 PM
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For those operating heavy machinery, yeah it's a reasonable practice that will follow these students into their chosen profession anyway.

I do have a gripe with anyone outside of those courses being tested. You're only young once and it's the age that everyone experiments with drugs. Such a policy is only going to take some young people out of the education system. I don't know about America but, where I'm from, they'll just join the welfare system and continue doing drugs. Instead of a young person making strides to becoming a productive member of society, they'll instead become dependent on it.

Schools should provide drug counselors, drug awareness programs, etc, etc. That's reasonable, having very visible programs out there for anyone that wants to stop using drugs is the farthest a college should go.

Do you know how many people smoke weed in my college class? It's easier to count those that don't, put it to you that way. Most of them don't adhere to the "lazy stoner dropout" stereotype either. I don't think there's very few "high-functioning" drug users as one person put it here, there's recreational drug users and those that have a drug problem (junkies). There's a distinct difference. Granted, the former CAN lead to the latter but I don't think one should stereotype, or vilify, people who do drugs. I know so many people that get off of their face every weekend and hold down some very professional jobs.

It's a person's choice to put something into their body and they are the only ones who have to deal with the consequences. You take away that choice and eventually, down the line as more choices are taken away, you'll find Big Brother looking at you through the telescreen.

If young people want to do drugs, let them.

I also think many people have been misinformed about drug tests. Piss tests only show coke use for about 3 days (slightly longer for those with a tolerence), same with ecstasy. As such, you'll find you're not catching those most at risk of developing a drug problem anyway, you're just going to be catching stoners most of the time. What's the point in that? If a lad goes to his college, does his work, studies and then goes home in the evening to have a spliff and unwind before the next day then where's the problem there?

I know prescription pills are big problem in the States but I don't know much about them, or how long they stay in your system, so I can't comment on them.

I think people have some misconceptions about drugs. It's like radical Islam, the hardline extremists result in many law abiding Muslims being tarred with that same brush. So too does the recreational drug user get a bad name because of the junkie on the street.

I assume many people, who would be proponents of this policy, probably experimented with drugs in their own college days. Why take that away from anyone else?

Last edited by Nikeo : 07-16-2013 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:53 PM
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I didn't see anything about weed?

As a parent I am intrigued by this idea. I saw many of my friends and other colleagues in college waste an important part of their lives, opportunity, and money by getting too caught up in drugs (and alcohol) during their college years. I spent too much time drinking myself. We've seen a number of violent events caused by those with mental issues. As a parent, this type of testing tells me my child and my money are going to a college that is probably less likely to have kids drop out for the wrong reasons.

No one here is forced to go to this college and there are plenty of alternative schools. As long as the school can enforce the policy fairly and properly I am all for it. For the kids already enrolled, having to quit drugs is not a valid excuse for saying an institution is treating you unfairly.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:25 AM
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I spent too much time drinking myself.
GSB, I knew you were into some weird stuff, but this sounds complicated... and gross.

Frankly, if there is a serious health risk by having drug users perform certain tasks, I would have no problem with schools drug testing. My job randomly tests me because if I screw up bad enough at work hundreds of people could suffer. I do think this should be limited to certain fields though. I find it unnecessary for someone walking into a Semantics class to be handed a cup and told to hold it up as they walk to the bathroom.

On a related note, if they test everyone working on heavy machinery, I have a feeling the attendance of the general Shop class is about to go way down.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Jack-Hammer View Post
Some will believe that it's far too simple of an argument, Personally, I think that society has developed a tendency to overcomplicate subjects that are quite simple. I can't begin to count the number of businesses out there who require employees to undergo mandatory drug screenings every once in a while, such as mine. Willingly undergoing these screenings is a requirement of your continued employment. So if a business requires people to take drug tests as a condition of continued employment, why shouldn't a college be allowed to adopt the same measure as a condition of students being allowed to continue their studies at their institution?
This exactly.

Add to that the fact that a lot of college students who do graduate and enter their desired field are more than likely going to be tested. If for nothing else, this is a way to nip potential drug addictions in the butt before they kick in, and it lets people know the severity of drug testing in the real world.
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