Amendment:. Searches at School. Note: Some photos and text in the PowerPoint are adapted from a lesson plan developed by Lindsey . Kakert. . The lesson plan is entitled “Searches Conducted by Public School Officials” and it can be found on TWEN under the 2010 Lesson Plan Forum tab. . ID: 289323
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Amendment:Searches at SchoolNote: Some photos and text in the PowerPoint are adapted from a lesson plan developed by Lindsey Kakert. The lesson plan is entitled “Searches Conducted by Public School Officials” and it can be found on TWEN under the 2010 Lesson Plan Forum tab.Slide2
What IS the Fourth Amendment?
The Fourth Amendment protects a person’s reasonable expectations of privacy.The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures of persons or property.Slide3
“- 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 persons or things to be seized.”Slide4
What is a Reasonable Expectations of Privacy?
Determining Reasonableness:To have a reasonable expectation of privacy, onemust have both a:1. Subjective expectation of privacy, and;2. The expectation must be one that society is prepared to recognize as legitimate. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967)- Where do you think people can reasonably expect privacy? WHY?Home? Yard? Friend’s house? Shopping? Work or School? Public park? Jail?- What kinds of things can people reasonably expect to have privacy in? WHY?Houses? Cars? Computers? Emails? Luggage? Purses? Backpacks? Phone conversations (cell phones)? Handwriting, photo, voice sample?Slide5
Continuum of Certainty
IN GENERAL, to conduct a search, a government official must establish “probable cause” to believe that a crime has been committed, and must obtain a warrant. What is PROBABLE CAUSE?0% No InformationHunchReasonable Suspicion Under Circumstances Probable Cause51%- Preponderance of Evidence80-100% Beyond a Reasonable DoubtUnder the Fourth Amendment, probable cause amounts to “more than a bare suspicion but less than evidence that would justify a conviction.”Slide6
“Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.” ~Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969).The Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches applies to searches conducted by public school officials.How should public school officials strike a balance between protecting a student’s legitimate expectations of privacy and the school’s legitimate need to maintain a safe environment in which learning can take place?Slide7
LESS Certainty Required for School Searches
In a school setting, teachers or other school officials are not required to establish “probable cause” or to obtain a search warrant for a search to be constitutional under the Fourth Amendment:“Requiring a teacher to obtain a warrant before searching a child suspected of an infraction of school rules (or of the criminal law) would unduly interfere with the maintenance of the swift and informal disciplinary procedures needed in the schools.”“The accommodation of the privacy interests of schoolchildren with the substantial need of teachers and administrators for freedom to maintain order in the schools does not require strict adherence to the requirement that searches be based on probable cause to believe that the subject of the search has violated or is violating the law. Rather, the legality of a search of a student should depend simply on the reasonableness, under all the circumstances, of the search.”A public school official must have “reasonable suspicion” to justify a search of a student.Slide8
SO…What is a “Reasonable” School Search?
Determining the “reasonableness” of any search involves a two-step inquiry:
First, one must consider “whether the action was
justified at its inception
Second, one must determine whether the
search as conducted “was reasonably related in scope
to the circumstances which justified the interference in the first place.”
A search of a student by a public school official will be “justified at its inception” when there are
reasonable grounds for suspecting
that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school.
Further, a search will be permissible in its scope when
the measures adopted are reasonably related to the objectives of the search
and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction.
New Jersey v. T.L.O
Was the Search of Betty’s Purse Reasonable?
Did the authorities have any “Reasonable Grounds” to search Betty’s purse?New Jersey v. T.L.O., (1985).A high school student was caught smoking in the bathroom and the Assistant Vice Principal searched the student’s purse for cigarettes. When the search turned up rolling papers, marijuana and a list of “people who owe me money,” the student claimed that the search of her purse was unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment.If so, was the search reasonable in scope under the circumstances?Safford Unified School Dist. No. 1 v. Redding (2009)A middle school student, Savana Redding, was suspected of distributing over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers to other students based on a tip by another student. School officials conducted a strip search of Savana and did not find any pills. Savana’s mother sued the school district for violating her daughter’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches.Slide10
4th Amendment Violations
Exclusionary Rule, Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961)Evidence obtained through a violation of the FourthAmendment is generally not admissible by the prosecution during the defendant’s criminal trial. - Rationale is that if police know evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment cannot be used to convict someone of a crime, they will not violate it.Slide11
The “Consent” Search
Because Andrew gave the officer permission to look in his wallet, Andrew cannot later claim that the officer violated his privacy rights. Unless the officer coerced Andrew into giving consent, such as using threats or force, the search is perfectly legal even if the officer had no reason to suspect that Andrew had committed any crime.Slide12
Drug Testing for Athletes
Chris’s Drug Test would be allowed under current law.In 1995, the United States Supreme Court ruled that public school athletes can be required to undergo drug testing even if they are not suspected of using drugs. (1) Justice Scalia gave several reasons for testing student athletes before anyone else in the student body: 1) student athletes have lesser privacy expectations because they are accustomed to dressing and showering in locker rooms; 2) they have to get physicals, keep a minimum GPA, and comply with the RULES of the Team; 3) Student athletes are role models to other students;4) Drugs may be particularly dangerous for student athletes.Slide13Slide14Slide15Slide16Slide17Slide18Slide19Slide20
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