Across the Border A Case Study Presented by: EDA600 Group 2 Paul Cary, Jennifer Conklin-Frank, Harris Henry, and Kevin Schucker
The Situation You are principal of a suburban middle school whose eighth grade French students are on a four-day cultural field trip to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. You receive a phone call at home on the second day of the trip from the French teacher in charge, stating that a student was found to be in possession of what she has reason to believe is marijuana. The teacher indicates that when she went into the student’s room, she saw that he had “rolling papers” among his things on his nightstand. She searched his belongings and found a plastic bag containing what appeared to be marijuana. One other student was in the room but did not seem involved.
Items to Think About
Question 1:How do you determine if it is actually marijuana? The teacher could examine it, The teacher could ask the student, The police will conduct a chemical test to determine if it marijuana.
Question 2:What is school policy regarding such an issue?
School Code of Conduct Districts all have an approved Code of Conduct that governs the conduct of students and the consequences of breaking the code of conduct. The Code of Conduct also provides guidance on rights of students.
School Code of Conduct
NY Penal Law
School Policy Applies A school sponsored field trip is an extension of the school. All school policies and rules apply during school sponsored activities.
Question 3:Who should be notified?
School Resource Officer
Actions Steps Notifications
Notify him/her of situation and get guidance
Direct teacher to notify local law enforcement
Advise them of situation and actions being taken. Find out if they have means to travel to Montreal to deal with the situation
School Resource Officer
See if they can assist with the situation in any way
Question 4:Who are the witnesses?
Other student in the room
Others students on the field trip
Teacher(s) on the field trip
Question 5:What should be done with the marijuana?
The police will test it and take care of it.
Question 6:What are the student’s rights?
Search and Seizure Students have a reasonable expectation to privacy. The observation of rolling papers did give school officials reasonable cause to search the student’s belongings. Searches should be conducted with witnesses present. This should be an adult.
Interrogation A parent must give consent and/or be present during questioning by authorities. Every effort should be made to gain that consent prior to any police questioning. The police in this matter, may simply test and properly dispose of the drugs and leave it to the school as a school matter.
Question 7:Should the student(s) be sent home at the parent’s expense? If so, how?
Look at school board policy.
Possible removal from trip.
Can parents pick student up?
How many days are remaining?
Is there staff available to escort student home?
Is the student a danger to himself or others?
Question 8:What is the potential impact on the other students vis-a-vis the trip’s objective?
Wanting to know details?
Question 9:How do you assure that there is sufficient, appropriate written documentation of what happened and every step of the process?
Question 10:What other information do you need?
Actions Steps Direction to Teacher
Separate students involved
Question both for any knowledge of other students in possession
Determine source of contraband
Call and cooperate with authorities
Be present during any questioning by police, if possible have parents on phone during any questioning
Action Steps Documentation
Events leading to initial search
Witnesses to search
Disposition of illegal substance (include police officer’s name and police report number)
Disposition of student
All documentation should be noted within 24 hours of incident. If possible fax documentation to administrator and superintendent.
Question 11: Other Considerations What are some other questions that need answering, including what should have been done differently?
Other Considerations Why was a female teacher in a male student’s room? Was no other male teacher available to do room checks? If so, the teacher should not have been alone. Instead she should have had another adult with her to conduct these checks. Remaining parts of the trip. Cannot provide other students with details of incident. Simply, the student had to go home for personal reasons. Would continue trip provided proper supervision was still possible. With prior discipline history of student, a parent should have been invited to chaperone the trip. This way, any problems could be handled much more efficiently. (Student was permitted to go on trip as a favor to parents for extenuating circumstances.)