The Public Schools' Right To Search And Seizure

814 words - 3 pages

Public school's right to search student lockers.
The school locker is usually the only private space available to a student in the environment of the school. So it focuses many of the main issues involved in privacy of the students. The 4th Amendment of the US Constitution states “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 person or things to be seized.”
In 1980 Supreme Court case, New Jersey v. T.L.O. A teacher at Piscataway High School in Middlesex County, New Jersey, Found T.L.O and a companion smoking in the restroom. A place where smoking was not allowed, The two girls where taken to the principal's office where T.L.O denied smoking in the bathroom. The assistant vice-principal demanded to see T.L.O.'s purse. By searching the purse the school officials found a pack of cigarettes. He also found rolling papers, a pipe, marijuana, and two letters with all the names of people that owed her money from marijuana dealing. T.L.O was taken to the police station where she confessed that she sold drugs at the school, and was sentenced to a year's probation.
The law differs from state to state as the 4th amendment has been modified to meet public school safety. Legislatures decided that there needs to be some modification of the level of suspicion of illegal activity needed to justify a search. They also decided that there's a need for a balanced between the students and the school setting. The 4th amendment has been modified from where you need probable cause and a warrant to be searched or seized. To the point where school officials only needs
suspicion that a crime has been committed, or a reasonable cause that is believed to be enough reason to search the locker and to keep the schools disciplinary system running.
Some argue that lockers are school property, and students are just simply allowed to use them. A student locker may be and could be searched at any given time. For example if a student had vandalized another student locker, school officials then have the right to search that students locker for any weapons or the tools that he/she used to commit that act, even if the locker had a stench to it. Officials still have the right to search the students locker. On the other hand people and mostly parents argue that invading the student locker, Can cause a risk of becoming insecure with them...

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