William Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 9 Drugs Student Searches - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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William Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 9 Drugs Student Searches


William Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 9 Drugs and Student Searches – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: William Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 9 Drugs Student Searches

Students Searches
  • Are They Legal in Public Schools?
  • William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

Fourth Amendment
  • "the right of the people to be secure in their
    persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
    unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
  • This was the amendment that protected people from
    unreasonable search and seizures, including
    public school students.

New Jersey v. T.L.O.,
  • T.L.O. and a friend were accused of violating
    school rules by smoking cigarettes in a school
    lavatory, the latter, who admitted to smoking,
    was not brought to the office for a search. The
    Supreme Court of New Jersey decreed that the
    search of T.L.O.'s purse violated the Fourth
    Amendment. On appeal, in New Jersey v. T.L.O.,
    the Supreme Court reversed in favor of the State
    of New Jersey (Russo).
  • This was the case that laid the basic principles
    for student searches.

2 standards used in the T.L.O. Case
  • School officials must establish reasonable cause
    for believing that the student is violating or
    has violated a student rule or a law.
  • They must make sure that the search conducted is
    reasonable in scope in light of the age and sex
    of the student and the nature of the offense.

Guidelines for Student Searches
  • A school official may search the person of a
    student if the school official has reasonable
    grounds to believe that the student is in
    possession of contraband.
  • Search of the person shall be limited to the
    student's pockets, any object in the student's
    possession such as a purse, briefcase or
    backpack, and/or a "pat down" of the exterior of
    the student's clothing.
  • Searches of the person shall be conducted out of
    the presence of other students and as privately
    as possible. At least one, but not more than
    three additional persons of the same sex as the
    student being searched shall witness but not
    participate in the search.
  • The parent/guardian of any student searched shall
    be notified of the search as soon as reasonably

Locker and Desks Searches
  • A locker search is simply the act of opening a
    locker and looking through its contents. 
    Depending on the state, administration may choose
    to search one, several or all lockers.  The
    search may begin when a drug dog indicates that
    there may be some contraband such as drugs in the
    locker, when a student reports concern of what
    another student may have in his locker, or when
    the administration calls for a random search.

Sniffer Dogs
  • Sniffer dogs can be used if they are sufficiently
    reliable to indicate reasonable suspicion that
    contraband is present.
  • Horton v. Goose Creek the court established that
    dogs could sniff students' cars and lockers, but
    could not sniff the students themselves for

Horton v. Goose Creek ISD
  • In 1978 the Goose Creek Independent School
    District in Texas brought in drug-sniffing dogs
    in an attempt to deal with a rampant drug and
    alcohol problem. The dogs were trained to detect
    more than 60 different controlled and
    over-the-counter substances. On an unannounced
    and random basis, dogs were taken to all of the
    schools in the district to sniff the students'
    lockers and cars and were brought into the
    classrooms to sniff the students themselves. If a
    dog indicated that a car or locker had an illegal
    substance, the student was required to open the
    locker or vehicle for a search. If the dog
    indicated a student was carrying an illegal
    substance, he or she was brought into the school
    office to be searched.

Drug Testing
  • Due to the personal intrusiveness of a drug test
    it is looked upon as a search.
  • Students athletes are subject to random drug
  • Vernonia School District v. Acton was the case
    law that laid down the guidelines for drug

Board of Education of Pottawatomie v. Earls
  • The Student Activities Drug Testing Policy
    implemented by Pottawatomie County School
    District requires all students who participate in
    competitive extracurricular activities to submit
    to drug testing. This policy reasonably serves
    the school district's important interest in
    detecting and preventing drug use among its
    students, therefore the court held it as

Metal Detectors
  • These devices are permissible in schools for
    student searches.
  • These devices are also used doing
    extra-curricular activities.
  • Students and parents must be notified that random
    student searches will occur.

  • Student searches are permissible as long as
    students Fourth Amendment rights are not
  • Parents and students should be aware of random
    searches through the student code of conduct.
  • School officials have a responsibility to keep
    safe and secure environments for students and
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