Search And Seizure In Schools Essay

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.

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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.

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.

The Court found that athletes have an even further reduced expectation of privacy than other students, as they are more closely regulated in many areas, such as grades and medical condition, and they participate in communal undressing and showering, further obviating any claim of physical privacy.

In addition, the Court found that the urine test procedure was negligibly intrusive, even though students had to divulge the prescription drugs they were taking at the time, since the process was akin to public restroom conditions and the test was being used only to determine illicit drug use rather than to identify any medical situation. It is a generic, interdisciplinary direction in education that combines particular kinds of content (related to rules, laws, and legal systems) with interactive instruction (Mc Bee, 1995). Student conflict resolution and mediation training, including student courts, represent another approach. 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. Peer counseling has also proven effective in breaking the impasse between violent students and the school system (Sachnoff, 1988). Using trained students as helpers, friends, counselors, mediators, and educators to ease the school tensions and conflicts that result in violence is an educational and effective first line of defense against school disruptions and crime. 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. James Acton, as a consequence of his parents' refusal to consent to such a test, was denied a spot on the football team. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the Actons, found the mandatory policy an "unreasonable search," and rousingly stated that "children, students, do not have to surrender their right to privacy in order to secure their right to participate in athletics." The U. Supreme Court did not agree, and once again tipped the scale in favor of educators' efforts to maintain perceived school order and discipline and against the preservation of an individual student's rights to privacy as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment (Vernonia School District 47J v. In this final appeal of the Vernonia case, the Court, in a 6-3 ruling, reversed the lower courts and found that the district's policy conformed with the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. It ruled that although the urine test was a "search" it was a "reasonable" one because legitimate governmental interests outweighed any intrusion on a student's privacy rights.


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