Monday, January 4, 2010

Empty Your Pockets: Student Drug Searches

Students do not check their 4th amendment rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure when they walk into school. However, that does not mean that a student may not be searched for drugs. If a student is suspected of having drugs on his person the administration in conducting the search must have a reasonable suspicion. The search must be reasonable (remember the outrageous strip search of a 13 year old who was carrying aspirin), and the need to maintain order must out weigh the student's right to privacy All of these conditions may seem thin ice too an administrator who may be afraid of being sued should he/she make a mistake. Accordingly, where a student who contests a search, an administrator is likely, and probably wise, not to conduct a forcible search but instead might bring in the local police to conduct the search. In that case, the officer would have to have to obtain a warrant that finds probable cause for a search. In short, trying to find the balance of safeguarding fundamental constitutional rights against discouraging the school administration from taking necessary and appropriate steps to maintain order is a thin rope.

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