Drug Tests Mandatory at School But at Whose Expense?

drug testHere's another one of those stories that initially made me go, "What? No way, that's messed up!" and then, upon closer examination, made me go, "Oh, I guess they have a point ... still, it's partly messed up!"

Hey, at least I can admit when I'm wrong.

So, when I first heard that Linn State Technical College in Missouri was enacting what's being called possibly the "most far-reaching drug-testing policy at a public college or university in the country," I was horrified. All students are required to have their urine tested for the presence of 11 different drugs (including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and oxycodone) or they won't be allowed to attend the school.

What? Not just kids who are already on probation or something, but every single one? And worse, students have to pay the $50 testing fee out of their own pockets?

Many, many words came to mind at once: Unconstitutional! Invasion of privacy! Harsh! Square!

But then I noticed something ...


The coursework at Linn Technical College includes "aircraft maintenance, heavy engine repair, nuclear technology, and other dangerous tasks."

Oh. Technical college, I get it now.

School leaders have justified the ban by saying they're just preparing students for entry into the drug-free workplace, and that's a decent justification, I will admit. No one is going to hire you to handle nuclear weapons if you don't pee into a cup first, that is for sure.

I also kind of get why the school maybe wouldn't want a bunch of potentially stoned kids learning how to operate heavy machinery. (Ha! Just like it says on the warning label! "Do not operate heavy machinery.")

Wait a second here, am I siding with "the man"? Hang on. Even if I'm kind of okay with the drug testing, I still think it's wrong to make students pay for the testing themselves! The indignation! If you're going to accuse a person of something, you should at least offer to cover the cost of that person's efforts to prove you wrong. That's just common decency, no?

Do you think students should have to pay for their own drug tests?


Image via Francis Storr/Flickr

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