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Assignment2 for my Education & Law course.

Assignment2 for my Education & Law course.



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  • Assignment 2: Student Freedoms 1 Assignment 2: Student Freedoms Nikia Glass Dr. Joe L. Canada Education and the Law – EDU 520 November 3, 2013
  • Assignment 2: Student Freedoms 2 Abstract Today, some may argue that students have way too many rights; and that there is entirely too much focus on student freedom. It’s possible that this focus on the freedom of students may take away from the real goals and objectives of the educational process; which is to encourage students to succeed in school and in life, and become productive citizens in society. However, there are instances, when specific circumstances may rightfully call for a search and seizure. On the other hand, there are a few situations, where the rights of students can be revoked. For this reason it is imperative for teachers, principals, and school officials to be aware and educated about the law, and consider the limitations, as it pertains to search and seizure in schools. This will help prevent unlawful infringement upon the rights of students. Furthermore, “although the underlying command of the Fourth Amendment is always that searches and seizures be reasonable, what is reasonable depends on the context within which is a search takes place…” (Yudof, Levin, Moran, Ryan, and Bowman, 2012, p. 329). This paper will review and address some of these issues, and a few court cases concerning search and seizure in schools.
  • Assignment 2: Student Freedoms 3 Lawful processes Generally, the mission of all schools is to maximize the academic and social development of students. However, in some instances, criminal conduct committed by students may cause districts to investigate violations and mete out punishment. Some may argue that the circumstances surrounding the issuing of punishment is sometimes unjust, especially when it comes to the issues of search and seizures. Such issues may include, but may not be limited to (1) situations in which school officials can conduct a search; (2) the level of suspicion that is necessary to legally justify a search and seize; (3) the point and time, as to when and how contraband should be seized; and (4) the absolute and exact process that should precede any consequences as a result of the search and seize. These issues are addressed by the U. S. Constitution and the special protections it extends. With these addresses, there are limitations that should not be overlooked. It is very important to note that the Fourth Amendment prohibits “unreasonable” searches and seizures. The Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause requires for all school officials to provide alleged offenders with the following rights: (a.) specific information about the charges, as well as, the evidence associated with the search and seize; and (b.) a chance to tell his or her side of the story. In legal terms, the offender has a right to notice and an opportunity to be heard. If the school fails to follow these steps of due process, any punishment that is given, regardless of legitimate means may be over ruled. The challenge for school districts and the courts is to balance students’ constitutional rights with the need for safety and preventing violence or disregard for schools rules. Based upon the need for school safety, the authority to conduct searches and discipline students too often infringe upon the privacy rights of students. For this reason school officials must be careful in their actions, and make sure their need to
  • Assignment 2: Student Freedoms 4 search and seize is supported by substantial amount of evidence, and free from any subsequence of ill intent. Limitations of searches and seizures First and foremost, the Fourth Amendment protects students against unreasonable searches and seizures. “The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution places limits on the power of the police to make arrests, search people and their property, and seize objects and contraband (such as illegal drugs or weapons). These limits are the bedrock of search and seizure law” (, 2013, p.1). If there is no true basis for a search, then there is no need for a search. However, the law highlights some easing of restrictions to which searchers are subject, and the modification requirements of school settings, as it refers to the level of suspicion of illicit activity necessary to conduct a search in schools. The school does have the responsibility to provide all students with a safe and orderly environment; therefore, justifiable searches and seizures should be conducted with the intent to keep problems at a minimum. Metal detectors, cameras, uniformed school police officers, drug-sniffing dogs, and random drug screenings, help keep guns, gangs, drugs and criminal behavior off of school grounds. These concerns have become a national priority, and strict rules are supported and enforceable by law. Secondly, reasonable suspicion must be in existence; implicating that the act of a crime is underway, or has already been committed. Reasonable suspicion may be based upon a number of surrounding circumstances, including; the location, time, activity, and the source of information. Thirdly, the search can not be excessively intrusive, such as a nude search, or any other search without questions or reason. Such acts clearly violate any human dignity and therefore is deemed unlawful.
  • Assignment 2: Student Freedoms 5 Legal rulings to support position Ruling #1: In the Redding v. Safford Unified School District, the courts declared that the conduction of a strip search was unlawful, because there was very little implication of reasonable suspicion. The nude search of a thirteen year old girl was considered an invasion of constitutional rights, and the school district lost their case, and was subjected to a monetary settlement (, 2013). School officials did not have to jump from searching Savana's backpack and outer clothing to searching her underwear. In order for this to be a lawful search, they needed to have findings of a reasonable suspicion of danger to the students from the power of the drugs; or their quantity, or reason to believe that Savana was carrying pills in her underwear. “Because this additional justification for a more intrusive search was not present, the Court held that the strip search of Savana violated her 4thAmendment rights” (Dinsmore & Shohl, 2013, p.1). Ruling #2: There was a similar case; that involved the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, in State ex rel. Galford v. Mark Anthony B.; here the court concluded that “the conduct of a student suspected of stealing money from a teacher's purse did not pose the type of immediate danger to others that might justify a strip search, and thus the search violated the student's constitutional rights” (Dinsmore & Shohl, 20113, p.1). Ruling #3: In another case, an eighteen year old boy was found breaking school rules, and questioned about drug activity. The young teen denied the allegations, but he was still escorted to the principal’s office where he was asked to empty his pockets. He pulled out synthetic marijuana, and a glass pipe. Although, drugs were found, he decided to challenge the search on appeal, but the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled in favor of the school, and declared
  • Assignment 2: Student Freedoms 6 that the search was in deed reasonable and therefore constitutional and just (, 2013). Ruling #4: Regarding this particular case, there were two students of Springfield public school, and a Virginia-based civil liberties group; for the Rutherford Institute. The argument was based upon an allegation that the students’ 4th Amendment right was violated, when drug- sniffing dogs went rummaging through their property. However, the school protested and exclaimed that based upon the school’s drug policy, they had every right to conduct annual drug- sniffing to hunt for illegal drugs. They also declared that they conduct these proceedings each year, with the intent to help keep the student body safe and drug free. This case went to the District Court, and the federal Court of Appeals, where the liberty group lost in both instances, and both rulings deemed the hunting constitutional (Kampis, 2013). Ruling #5: The Vernonia School District v. Acton (1995) case involved a 7th grade student athlete and his parents; they opposed random drug testing. Since the young boy refused to be tested he was suspended, and his parents sued the school for infringing upon their child’s Fourth Amendment right. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the School district, and upheld the intent of the drug-testing policy efforts; stating “Students who voluntarily participate in school athletics have reason to expect intrusions upon normal rights and privileges, including privacy" (, 2013). The New Jersey v. T.L.O. case ‘T.L.O. is the landmark case on search and seizure at school. Law permits for school officials to search a student's property if they have a "reasonable suspicion" that a school rule has been broken, or a student has committed or is in the process of committing a crime’ (Jacobs, 2013, p.1). This case supports my argument that search and seizures should only be conducted
  • Assignment 2: Student Freedoms 7 when there is evident of reasonable suspicion. It is the leading case on this subject, and since 1985, it has set the standard for the school search and seizure policy. Once T.L.O., was caught smoking in the bathroom, there was evidence for reasonable suspicion. Then she was taken to the principal′s office, and questioned. Although she denied every allegation made, she was still ordered to hand over her purse. In court, there was a debate about whether or not school officials had the right to search her purse, but since there were grounds for reasonable suspicion school officials had every right to search and seize her purse. Furthermore, although students have privacy rights, these rights may be limited based upon the school rules and regulations, as well as, responsibilities to maintain a safe learning environment. The moment a school rule has been broken, or the moment a crime has or is about to take place, school officials have every right to infringe upon the privacy rights of students. “The court held that the standard to be applied in school searches is that of reasonableness. This covers not only your person, but your locker, desk, car, and backpack; and in some instances, if proven to be school related, some searches may be conducted off of school grounds” (Jacobs, 2013, p. 2). Recommendations concerning existing laws I believe that the following changes will help to create a fairer educational setting in terms of search and seizure: (1) any school district that adheres to a school law that permits searches without probable cause should be challenged and taken to court {South Carolina; ARTICLE 11: SECTION 59-63-1110}; (2) any school district that adheres to a school law that permits strip searches, by anyone other than an official police officer, without convicting evidence of probable cause should be challenged and taken to court {South Carolina; ARTICLE 11: SECTION 59-63-1130}.; (3) any school district that adheres to a school law that limits
  • Assignment 2: Student Freedoms 8 training to school administrators only should be challenged and ordered to extend training to all grade level teachers and teacher’s aides {South Carolina; ARTICLE 11: SECTION 59-63-1150}; (, 2013).
  • Assignment 2: Student Freedoms 9 References (2013). Can a school official search a student? Retrieved from (2013). Seizure laws for south carolina. Retrieved from htm Dinsmore & Shohl (2013). Recent US Supreme Court Decision on Student Search and Seizure, Something Every School Administrator Should be Aware of. Retrieved from Jacobs, T., (2008). 10 Supreme court cases every teen should know. Retrieved from articles/20080915monday.html Kampis, J., (2013). School search-and-seizure fight not over in MO. Retrieved from mo/ (2013). Legal information institute. Supreme court of the united states, No. 94- 590.515 U.S. 646 (1995). Retrieved 590.ZO.html (2013). Understanding Search and Seizure Law. Retrieved from Yudof, M., Levin, B., Moran, R., Ryan, J., & Bowman, K. (2012). Educational policy and the law. (5th ed.). Belmont, CA:Cengage Learning.