Search And Seizure In Schools Essay

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There is, however, a wealth of information and experience about alternatives to such draconian school violence prevention strategies.

Law-related education (LRE) is a fresh approach to reducing the causes of school violence early and continually throughout a student's education.

It is important to state, however, that education is almost exclusively a matter of state and local laws, regulations, and policies.

It rarely involves the Federal government or Federal powers, except for the Federal courts' interpretations of constitutional protections in the school setting.

Des Moines Independent School District (1969) found for the first time that constitutional rights--in this case, the First Amendment right to wear a black armband in school as symbolic speech in protest against the Vietnam War--were applicable to students. They include the student's age, history, and school record; the seriousness and pervasiveness as a school problem of the suspected infraction or crime; the urgency that required the search without delay; the school official's prior experience with the student; and the evidentiary value and reliability of the information used to justify the search (Rapp, 1994). His parents refused to sign a form consenting to a urinalysis that would test their son for a variety of drugs, if James were randomly selected by school authorities to comply with the school's newly instituted mandatory, random drug testing program.

Search And Seizure In Schools Essay

In landmark language that has been repeatedly cited, if not always upheld, the court said, "It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate" (pp. Tinker left unanswered the question of whether Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures applied to students when searched by school authorities, and if so, with what restrictions, if any. What cannot and will not be condoned by the courts are searches that are performed with malicious intent to deprive students of their rights, those where school officials know or should have known that their actions violated students' rights, those that are capricious or discriminatory, and those that do not closely follow school search policies. There was no claim that James was suspected of drug use, but school authorities asserted that their random urinalysis drug testing policy was the result of their being at their "wits' end" over how to solve a perceived growing drug problem (Daniels, 1995). Supreme Court, school officials pressed their claim that they were justified in implementing their random testing program in order to stop the rowdy, anti-authoritarian behavior of their athletic teams that resulted from increased drug use in their rural Oregon school.

As the preoccupation with drugs and gang paraphernalia in the schoolhouse has escalated, school searches of students and seizures of their property in accord with the Fourth Amendment comprise a cutting edge issue for the courts and school authorities.

This digest presents a brief review of recent Fourth Amendment decisions that affect the rights of students and the parameters of schools' authority to maintain a crime-free environment.

Starting in 1968 and culminating in 1984, the law of the land concerning the status of students vis-a-vis school authorities shifted to a more constitutional basis. (as the student involved was identified to protect her identity), after she had been accused of violating the school's policy of smoking a cigarette on high school property. money, and two letters that involved her in dealing marijuana. Also, for the first time, the court considered school officials, when acting in furtherance of publicly mandated educational and disciplinary policies, far more akin to government agents--the very subject of Fourth Amendment restrictions--than to parental surrogates who, under the doctrine of in loco parentis, were free from constitutional restraints. court carved out another such exception to the usual standard; it found that the Fourth Amendment's requirement of reasonableness was met if school authorities acted without a warrant, but with "reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school. *Perform a visual or manual body cavity search (Student searches and the law, 1995). case were not substantially reviewed until the courts assessed the issue of mandatory and voluntary drug testing.

Prior to that time, student-school rights were defined by the common law doctrine of "in loco parentis, which for centuries posited that school officials had the "right, duty, and responsibility to act in the place of a parent. In that case, an assistant vice principal opened and searched the purse of T. His search disclosed not only a pack of cigarettes but also rolling papers associated with marijuana use, marijuana, a pipe, plastic bags, a large sum of money, a list of students who owed T. When she was arrested on drug charges, she claimed that the evidence found in her purse should be suppressed as the fruits of an unreasonable search and seizure. The final question considered by the court was whether the search was reasonable, as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Such a search will be permissible in its scope when the measures adopted are reasonably related to the objectives of the search and are not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction" (p. Thus the "reasonable suspicion" standard was definitively asserted. *Search a student's car in the school parking lot (State v. Goose Creek Independent School District, 1982; Jennings v. Latexo Independent School District, 1980) or metal detector machines (People v. As contentious as Fourth Amendment issues have been, the lessons of the T. Until 1995, the short answer to the question of whether schools could mandate all or a class of students to submit to blood or urine tests for drugs could be clearly answered: "no" (Price, 1988). Constitution, but also to the nation's common sense of students' integrity (Anable v. Carlstadt-East Rutherford Regional School District, 1985). The courts did, however, make a distinction between mandatory and voluntary drug testing, with the latter subject to no Fourth Amendment protections, as it is based upon consent.


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