Saturday, February 19, 2011

Interpreting the Fourth Amendment: The line between students’ rights and the administration’s duties

From Inklings News:
It’s 1984.

Two girls, a freshman and her friend, take a quick smoke in the school bathroom, violating a school rule. Upon discovering the girls’ actions, a teacher sends them to the office where the assistant principal askes to see the freshman’s purse.

When he searches her purse, he finds not only cigarettes, but also rolling papers, commonly used for marijuana. This gives the assistant principal reasonable suspicion to continue searching through her bag, where he then discovers marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a substantial amount of money, an index card with a list of names of students who owe her money, and two letters that implicate her involvement in drug dealing. What was an accusation of smoking tobacco has become a charge of delinquency and an important case regarding search and seizure.

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