Random Locker Searches Essay

One federal court has recently held that the use of drug-sniffing dogs on a student's person requires individualized, reasonable suspicion. Drug-testing programs are another form of a random search. Prevention of drug abuse, according to this court, does not justify the dog sniffing the person because it intrudes on the expectation of privacy and security (B. In 1995, the Supreme Court upheld a drug-testing program for student athletes because the school had a documented drug epidemic; participation in athletics was optional; the athletes had a lessened expectation of privacy because they participated in communal showering; the athletes had a heightened risk of injury; the athletes were the leaders of the drug culture; the testing procedure was minimally intrusive; and the consequence of a positive test was not discipline but treatment (Vernonia School District 47J v. As schools try to expand drug-testing programs beyond the facts in Vernonia, courts have struggled in a number of cases to determine what is constitutional: Until the Court provides guidance on drug-testing programs beyond the facts of Vernonia, schools should consider the following questions before instituting a drug-testing program: How serious is the drug problem in the tested population? Board of Education of Tecumseh Public School District, 242 F.3d 1264 (10th Cir. The primary purpose of student searches is to maintain a safe learning environment.

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One crucial difference in their purposes is the ability to use the results of an illegal search in a disciplinary hearing but not in a criminal proceeding.

School administrators face severe threats to school safety and are simultaneously held increasingly accountable to the public and policymakers to keep students safe.

The courts have recently expanded the right of school officials to conduct student searches, resulting in part from recent acts of school violence and heightened public scrutiny. The answer depends on whether the court views law enforcement personnel assigned to the school as school officials or law enforcement officials.

A search that was illegal 20 years ago now may be a legal search. The Court concluded, however, that the school environment requires an easing of the restriction to which searches by public authorities are normally subject. Reasonable suspicion is a commonsense, nontechnical conception that deals with the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians, act. United States, 1996, at 695) School officials need only reasonable suspicion to search students in public schools, but sworn law enforcement officials normally must have probable cause to search students. When the police or school administrators act at one another's request, they run the risk of becoming one another's agents.

Some school policies require students to provide consent to a search or risk discipline.

In at least one federal circuit, the court has upheld this policy (Des Roches v. In this case, all but one student consented to a search of their personal belongings.

Such searches are subject to the reasonable suspicion standard.

Officials conduct random or blanket searches not because of individualized suspicion, but as a preventive measure.

Have less intrusive means to combat the problem been exhausted? Is the testing procedure reliable and minimally intrusive?

Are the consequences of a positive search result discipline, denial of privileges, or treatment?


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