This case study is presented by Ameenah Reed, Robert Baxter, Suzanne Chaves and Vicki Baxter.
New York State School law should dictate school policy. School law requires school districts to establish a code of conduct. That code of conduct must cover possession or use of illegal substances. The relevant sections of the school law dictate that school officials can conduct searches in the presence of witnesses. The teacher had reasonable suspicion to search when she saw the rolling papers. However she probably should of conducted the search in the presence of another adult and not just the student’s roommate. The search should also be deemed legal because sections of the law covers a justifiable search when a student is off campus attending a school sponsored event. School law also states that upon finding the marijuana, school officials have responsibility to notify police and the student’s parents. If the student is deemed to be guilty of these actions, the student can be suspended from school.
When a student violates any law, school personal has an obligation to contact the police. In this case the proper authorities would be the principal/administrator first, then the local police. Teachers should not contact the police without first contacting the administrator. The administrator would then contact the superintendent and the student’s parents. New York State Law 22:36
This 1985 case was an important one to a students’ right to privacy. In the wake of the Columbine shootings and 9/11, an atmosphere of increased security is the norm. Teachers and chaperones have the responsibility for the safety of all students. Upon suspicion of any infraction of the law, school rule or policy authorized adults have the authority to conduct necessary searches.
The teacher noticed the rolling papers first which lead to the discovery of the marijuana. (Rolling papers are considered drug paraphernalia) and that alone constitutes a violation of the law. NYS School law 22:24-25. There was the witness of the teacher and the student’s roommate. If a teacher believes a search is necessary there should always be another person present. Since the teacher noticed the rolling papers, she had probable cause to search for the illegal drugs.
Law enforcement is equipped with the different tests to positively confirm the presence of marijuana. Since NYS school law requires that illegal substances be turned over to the authorities they should determine if the substance is indeed marijuana.
Very Good Question! The administrator should instruct the teacher to confiscate the drugs in the presence of another adult. Next, the authorities should be contacted and the evidence turned over to the police. They would identify the substance. It is relevant to point out here that: marijuana is legal in Canada for medical purposes only, however, authorities are relaxed in enforcement when dealing with small quantities of marijuana.
Prior to any out of town excursion, clear guidelines for behavior and consequences will be addressed with a signed contract by both the student and his or her parent. Parents would have been made aware that the consequences for misconduct could be the student being sent home early at the parent’s expense. The Principal would contact the parents to notify them of the incident, and their responsibility to provide transportation for their son’s return home. If the student has not been detained by the authorities, a staff member attending the trip as a chaperone would become responsible for the student unrtil travel arrangements have been made. A meeting would be set with the Principal, student and his parents upon his return to the states. These consequences could range from suspension to expulsion depending on school policy.
In order to dispel any rumors, the teacher would be asked to gather the students together for a conference call with the principal. Students may wonder what happened and be concerned about the remainder of the trip. The principal would ensure them that their safety is of the utmost importance and they do not need to be concerned. The rules and consequences would be reviewed. Students would be encouraged to continue to follow the rules and enjoy their trip.
New York State law allows a student to be suspended from extracurricular school activities when they do not meet the reasonable expectations to participate in such an event. The Principal had a moral and ethical duty to enforce this provision of the law to protect the teacher and other students. This incident could have been prevented. In light of this incident the school’s policy and procedures will be reviewed. A substance abuse component may be added to the existing programs offered at the school.
The leadership styles referred to here are those set forth by Goleman in 2000. We may also consider Fullan’s five components of effective leadership ( moral purpose, understanding change, coherence making, relationship building, and knowledge creation and sharing). Fullan points out that these five components function best together and serve as “checks and balances” on each other. In this example, the Principal exclusively relied on moral purpose in reaching out to a boy from a troubled home as well as relationship building with that family. He put other students at risk when he made this short-sighted choice.
Case study 2_ameenah_robert_suzanne_vicki_final
Case Study #2 American eighth grader caught with marijuana on a field trip in Canada.
Case Study #2 Overview: What Happened? <ul><li>A Principal against better judgment and school policy, allowed an eighth grade student with numerous prior disciplinary incidents at school to attend a four-day field trip to Montreal. </li></ul><ul><li>The Principal agreed to “bend the rules” and allow him to attend in response to the assurance given by the father, that his son would be on his best behavior. </li></ul>
Case Study #2 Overview: So, What Happened? Continued…. <ul><li>Unfortunately, this was not the case. </li></ul><ul><li>The French teacher in charge of the trip found rolling papers in plain site, further investigation revealed the discovery of what appeared to be marijuana. The student’s roommate was in the room at the time but did not appear to be connected to this incident. </li></ul><ul><li>The teacher called the Principal on the second day of a four day trip for instruction on handling this very sensitive situation. </li></ul>
What does school policy dictate about this situation? <ul><li>Relevant sections of the book School Law 33 rd Edition: </li></ul><ul><li>Chapter 23: 1-2, 7, 10 & 14 </li></ul><ul><li>Chapter 22: 24-25 </li></ul><ul><li>Chapter 22: 35-36 </li></ul>
Who should be contacted? Principal Parents Police Superintendent
What are the Student’s rights? <ul><li>The student has the right to privacy, according to the 4 th Amendment. </li></ul><ul><li>HOWEVER, (NJ vs. PLO in 1985) states the teacher was justified in searching further due to the rolling papers being in plain sight. </li></ul><ul><li>The safety of other students is taken into account and such a search is warranted. </li></ul>
Document Everything! <ul><li>Statement from teacher, student ’s roommate and the student </li></ul><ul><li>Student’s permission slip </li></ul><ul><li>Code of conduct </li></ul><ul><li>Picture of the substance </li></ul><ul><li>Police report </li></ul><ul><li>Parent agreement to transport student back to the states in case of student misconduct. </li></ul>
What Theory of Leadership Emerges in this Situation? <ul><li>Before the student even left the USA, the Principal committed an error by being too lenient with the student and his family, possibly putting other students in harm’s way. </li></ul><ul><li>The Principal chose to violate school policy in order to give a repeat offender another chance. </li></ul><ul><li>The leadership style is overly affiliative with the family leading to clearly negative consequences . </li></ul><ul><li>The leadership style is not authoritative initially (much like the lemming ). The Principal must utilize other leadership styles to manage this incident, becoming more authoritative or coercive to handle this situation. (Goleman). </li></ul>
References <ul><li>School Law (33 rd Ed .). (2010). New York State Boards Association, Inc., Latham, New York. </li></ul><ul><li>DEA site with information for parents </li></ul><ul><li>(www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com ) </li></ul><ul><li>OSDFS – Office of Safe and Drug-free Schools </li></ul><ul><li>(www.ed.gov/about/offices/listosdfs/index.html ) </li></ul>