Hawaii Teachers Defeat Random Drug Testing

Ever since the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) agreed to make members submit to random suspicionless drug tests in a 2007 contract with a state, then backed away from that pledge after rethinking the rights it was agreeing to give up, the teachers and the state of Hawaii have been locked in a battle over random drug testing. That battle is now over.

Hawaii teachers won't have to provide these to keep their jobs. (image via Wikimedia)
While the administration of Republican Gov. Linda Lingle fought hard to force the teachers to submit, even taking the battle to the courts, the administration of Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie has taken a different course. In an agreement reached Monday, the state agreed to end its insistence on random drug and alcohol testing for teachers.

Negotiators for Gov. Abercrombie agreed to the settlement "to avoid further expense and risk of litigation," according to KITV-4 in Honolulu.

"For the past four years, the HSTA the ACLU have been challenging the random drug testing," said HSTA President Wil Okabe, who added the issue had become one of teachers' rights and the constitutionality of random suspicionless drug tests.

"We're very happy to see that no teachers will be exposed to this unconstitutional, expensive and unnecessary program," said ACLU attorney Dan Gluck.

While the HSTA does not support random suspicionless drug testing of teachers, the agreement does allow for drug testing with cause. The union is okay with that. "HSTA believes schools should be drug-free," said Okabe.

Honolulu, HI
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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A vote for common sense and decency

Good on the teachers in Hawaii.For far too long the mere mention of drugs was enough to allow the due process of law to be tossed in the garbage.For far too long any drug issue was an excuse to trample all over privacy and personal freedoms.Now it's just the poor that still get this treatment.One day,even being poor won't be an excuse to abandon freedom of choice.One day.

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