COOKEVILLE, TENN. (CN) – A public school district created an unconstitutional policy that allows it to randomly test teachers for drugs, and fire them, without exceptions for prescription drugs, teachers claim in Federal Court.
The Smith County Education claims the Smith County Board of Education’s policy is unconstitutionally vague and intrusive. Teachers say the board informed them “that if they were taking prescription medications and the prescriptions were more than a year old, those prescriptions would not be regarded as valid. The same individual also told teachers that if they had a positive test result, they would be automatically discharged from their employment.”
The school board policy allows it to test up to 10% of the teachers each year. Teachers say the policy does not adequately define “random,” or what a “positive” result is, or what a “reasonable suspicion” is. They say the policy violates the federal and state Constitutions, and the Tennessee Teacher Tenure Act.
Plaintiffs cite several teachers who were called out of class and ordered to provide urine samples, while they were on prescription medications for illnesses. These are unreasonable searches and seizures, the union says.
The teachers are represented by Richard Colbert with Colbert & Wilbert of Franklin, Tenn.