Search And Seizure In Schools Essay

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With respect to students' rights in school, the current direction of Fourth Amendment law reflects society's fears of and disrespect for children and the paucity of alternatives to police-type enforcement measures that are both in use and under consideration in the schools.

It also indicates that school authorities no longer have to grant students the civil rights considered inalienable by the rest of the nation's citizens.

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.

Over several decades, in a series of cases involving public school students, the U. Supreme Court and state courts have very gingerly both bestowed and limited Fourth Amendment rights.

These cases suggest that the delicate balance between students, rights and school safety procedures is strongly tilting towards the rights of school authorities to proactively isolate and reduce perceived causes of school violence. that students subjected to school searches are, in fact, citizens covered by the Fourth Amendment. Long Beach schools favor dress codes as violence declines. The finding of "reasonableness" was based upon Vernonia's dictum that the nature of students' "rights is what is appropriate for children in school." Cheema v. Thompson (1995) extended the previously abandoned legal theory of schools' functioning in loco parentis. Their right to act included the exercise of many parental powers, such as the right to search students for illegal items, or for those items merely considered as contraband under state or local law or school district policies, without the warrant or probable cause mandated for all other citizens under the Fourth Amendment. The Amendment requires a warrant and probable cause before a search is considered reasonable, although there are several exceptions to the imposition of that formulaic and high standard. It permitted school authorities to lawfully search students upon meeting its two-pronged test: the search must be (1) reasonable in inception, and (2) reasonable in scope. *Upon hearing an unusual thud when a student threw his bag onto a metal cabinet, a security guard rubbed his hand along the bag to feel for a gun (Matter of Gregory M., 1992/1993). Slattery, 1990; Student searches and the law, 1995). Such testing was seen as a violation of students' reasonable expectation of privacy (Jones v. That distinction blurs, though, when the tests are used as a precondition for school enrollment or for participation in extracurricular activities. The doctrine of in loco parentis began crumbling in 1968, when Tinker v. Some recent search cases in which the two-pronged "reasonableness test" was successfully applied include these: *A school dance monitor, who, upon seeing that some students were inebriated, in contravention of school policy, took them to a private office and asked them to blow on her face (Martinez v. *Upon a student's report to a guidance counselor that another student possessed an illicit drug, the administrator searched the latter student's book bag, because the administrator also had knowledge that the student had been previously disciplined for possession of a controlled substance (State v. The case law on student search and seizure has yielded a few other useful factors to consider when conducting a search to ensure that it is reasonable at the inception and in scope. [case] rule and its progeny have been applied to the rights of school authorities to engage in the following acts: *Search students' school lockers to look for contraband or illegal materials (Student searches and the law, 1995; S. Until June 27, 1995, the courts were split on drug testing as a precondition for participating in extracurricular activities, with some courts approving it exactly because these activities are voluntary (Student Searches and the Law, 1995). Vernonia School District 47J (1991), which involved a high school student, James Acton, who wanted to be on his school's football team. The court noted that Vernonia held that for many purposes "school authorities act in loco parentis" when it decided, on other grounds, that Sikh students in California cannot be forced to utterly abandon their possession of religiously mandated ceremonial knives or cease attending public elementary school. After Cheema, it could be posited that there are still legal grounds to argue that school authorities are endowed with parental rights when assuring students' safety and drug-free status, and that students' constitutional protections are subservient to those parental rights. Thus, the first line of defense of school administrators is to bring in more policing measures, such as car searches, metal detectors, urinalyses, and drug-sniffing dogs. Joshua Independent School District, 877F F.2d 313, 5th Cir. The cases reported here, as well as many others not discussed, result from the shared frustration felt by administrators trying to stop the perceived violence and drugs without restraint and alternative. Goose Creek Independent School District, 690 F.2d 475, 5th Cir. In ensuring school safety, the courts have sought to balance students' constitutional rights with the need for safety and freedom from violence in the schools. At present, the balance is thoroughly tilted towards efforts to effect tough safety and drug policies in the schools and against any extension of the current scant constitutional rights students enjoy.


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