Searching in Schools Essay

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Searching in Schools

The U.S. Supreme Court and state courts have very gently both bestowed and limited Fourth Amendment rights upon public school students in a series of cases over several decades. Recent cases may indicate that the delicate balance between student rights and school safety procedures is strongly leaning towards the rights of school authorities to actively isolate and reduce perceived causes of school violence. Starting in 1968 and culminating in 1984, the law of the land concerning the status of students compared to school authorities shifted to a more constitutional basis. Prior to that time, student rights in school were defined by the common law doctrine of in loco parentis, which for centuries posited that
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The theory posits that unless school districts have written and distributed a locker policy to students, students may have a high expectation of privacy and school authorities may have to meet higher constitutional standards to conduct a locker search. The reality is that the courts have rarely found a school locker search they didn't like, as their use of reasonable in light of all the circumstances test has allowed state courts to override whatever expectation of privacy other citizens may have in similar circumstances. There is utter certainty that state law, school district regulations, or written school policies that require schools to maintain charge over lockers and to inform students of this policy in writing will override any student privacy concerns that could theoretically be asserted to outlaw a search (Wade 104-114). If lockers were searched more often students wouldn?t have so much to hide. Searches are necessary because horrible things could be held in lockers to harm other students or faculty. Security guards should search the lockers once a week to keep the lockers free of concealed substances and weapons.

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