ACLU Sues Missouri College Over Drug Testing

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Linn State Technical College in Linn, Mo., has a new policy for the fall semester. In addition to paying tuition, students must also take a drug test. The Kansas City Star reports the drug screening is the first of its kind in the entire country.

The American Civil Liberties Union has an issue with the policy and has filed a lawsuit to stop the drug screening program. The Wall Street Journal reports a temporary restraining order was issued. The drug tests affected only incoming freshmen who would be given two chances to prove they were clean before facing penalties.

The college's website states the Board of Regents approved mandatory drug screening for all new freshmen June 17. A statement by the public institution of higher education says the purpose of the screening program is to "provide a safe, healthy and productive environment" for learning.

There seems to be hypocrisy in Missouri. KMOX reported Gov. Jay Nixon signed a provision requiring welfare recipients in his state submit to drug testing earlier in 2011. The General Assembly figured, and the governor agreed, that in order to receive certain government benefits a drug test would be needed. If someone fails a drug test, they enter into rehab which could cost Missouri taxpayers even more money on top of paying for welfare.

A state-supported college doesn't want its taxpayer dollars wasted, much in the same way welfare doesn't want to be squandered by drug addicts. If the ACLU wants to sue Linn Technical College, they should also do what they did in Florida. The Miami Herald reported the group is planning a lawsuit over Florida's assertion that welfare recipients should submit to drug testing.

The Board of Regents of Linn State may have followed the example of political leaders in Jefferson City. They brazenly told Missourians that recipients of food stamps and other benefits should pass drug tests. The point of that law was to save taxpayer money. Linn State is simply trying to do the same thing. If the ACLU is going to file a lawsuit against the college, they should also sue to get drug testing for welfare dropped.

Drug testing laws need to be all-encompassing. No single class of government-supported institutions should be singled out as being more important than others. Welfare is an important aspect of our society as it keeps kids nourished with food. Attending college is also a part of our modern society as adults try to get better jobs and make more money.

The ACLU somehow thinks six students named in the Linn State lawsuit are more important than treating welfare recipients as second-class citizens. If the organization is going to stand up to a taxpayer-supported college, they need to do the same to government-supported welfare.

William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.

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