Breaking News:EVENT: No Time Like the Present: Drug Policy Reform is More Urgent Than Ever

Drug Testing: ACLU Will Sue to Block Hawaii Teacher Testing

In a press release last Friday, the ACLU of Hawaii announced it is preparing to challenge an Aloha State plan to randomly test teachers, librarians, and other public school system employees. The policy, the first in the nation to randomly drug test teachers, was agreed to by a bargaining unit of the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) during the 2006-2007 school year.
Volcano National Park, Hawaii Island
Some Hawaii public officials seized on the drug-related arrests of six teachers in the run-up to the contract negotiations to demand that teachers be drug tested. With the HSTA bargaining unit deep in hard-fought negotiations to secure better wages, educators were faced with a deeply troubling offer: accept random drug testing in exchange for wage increases. After heated discussion within the bargaining unit, a slight majority okayed the deal.

But that didn't sit well with some school teachers, who complained that the union was strong-armed by the state. HSTA head Joan Husted told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "There are teachers who believe they were blackmailed," she said, "but we also heard from teachers who believe they have an obligation to ensure their schools are drug-free."

Nor did it sit well with the Hawaii ACLU, which announced a series of public events to publicize its challenge to the agreement. The publicity is also designed to let Hawaii teachers and other bargaining unit employees know the ACLU is looking for plaintiffs for the lawsuit.

"The Constitution does not allow us to put a price tag on our right to privacy, and we look forward to representing Hawaii educators who are willing to stand up for their constitutional rights, " said Lois Perrin, legal director of the ACLU of Hawaii. "Our education system is failing students by resorting to dragnet searches that do little to protect anyone while violating the rights of everyone."

"Hawaii now has the dubious distinction of being the first state ever to subject its teachers to a blanket policy of random drug testing," said Graham Boyd, director of the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project, a division of the national ACLU. Boyd is an expert on the constitutional implications of random drug testing policies and has litigated a number of cases nationwide against such policies, including a 2004 US Supreme Court case challenging the random drug testing of students participating in competitive extracurricular activities. "I look forward to joining the ACLU of Hawaii and local teachers who agree that this policy conveys the wrong civics lesson to our students and to the nation."

The Hawaii ACLU will be in for a fight. State Attorney General Mark Barnett told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin the program "violates neither state nor federal law" and he would defend it against any challenge. "We will vigorously defend it," he said. "We believe that the state and the teachers union have an absolute right to sign this type of a contract."

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

What next? Pee for freedom!

The state" will vigorously defend" it's right to take away citizens rights, right? The urinenation test will only reveal pot smokers, not hard users or alcohol. It will also not find incompetence or closet fascists.

Next test the would be leaders

If it were the case that all who run for government office must take" the test",the test would quietly disappear.

drug testing

"including a 2004 US Supreme Court case challenging the random drug testing of students participating in competitive extracurricular activities."

Excuse me, but didn't the ACLU "LOSE" that case? When it comes to suspicionless drug testing the ACLU loses more case's than it wins.

On the other hand, a Fire Dept. in Mesa Arizona fought drug testing and won in 2004 without the ACLU.

Drug testing

It is very wrong that drivers should be tested for alcohol consumption.

It is our right to drink and drive.

What the hell

"It is very wrong that drivers should be tested for alcohol consumption.

It is our right to drink and drive."
have to do with testing teachers for marijuana use? We all know that marijuana will be the only drug found if testing of teachers is implemented. Marijuana use does not indicate a teacher is unable to teach students what students need to learn. Alcohol over use does make most people unable to drive properly (tho do think drunk driving tickets should be based on driving performance, not blood alcohol level).

Drug testing is obvious

We place our kids in teachers care for 8 hours a day. Bus drivers are obligated by their CDL to be randomly drug tested. What is different about teachers? They, in fact, have more of an obligation to show they are drug-free since they, unlike most bus drivers, are molding our kids minds. And don't give me that baloney of they are 'professionals' or that they 'have degrees' as reasons why they shouldn't be tested. Bottom line - if you have nothing to fear then you will have no problem. And if you want to be a teacher then you should know at the outset you will be tested regularly.

Hawaii drug testing

The fact that the teacher's union has agreed (as of May 2008) to this drug testing policy seems to eliminate any constitutional challenge to drug testing.
The teachers union is the legal bargaining agent for the teachers.
The union is foolish for having agreed to this proposal.

Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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