ERIC Number: ED308095
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Student Searches & the Law. NSSC Research Paper.
Stephens, Ronald D., Ed.
The increased presence of drugs and weapons in schools has forced school officials to step up searches of students, lockers, and school property. The landmark case of "New Jersey vs. TLO" set standards concerning reasonable suspicion and reasonable searches. School officials must be familiar with recent court opinions on student searches, use good judgement as to the application of reasonable suspicion, and avoid careless or whimsical applications of student searches. If evidence is found, it is important that contraband materials be locked in a secure place where the chain of custody of the evidence is known and limited. Extreme caution must be exercised in the case of strip searches, since such searches are too instrusive for most courts to sanction and arouse aversion in most communities, besides having been vociferously criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union and parents' organizations in specific instances. The apparent legality of the use of dogs to detect drugs varies within different federal circuit courts. School officials should check to see what guidelines their federal circuit courts recommend. While voluntary drug testing may be permitted, mandatory testing appears to be outside the scope of the law. The use of metal detectors as a search tool may be permissible if certain regulations are followed. Every school should have a conduct policy and a search and seizure policy spelled out exactly as to reasonable suspicion and reasonable search practices. Four resource organizations and nine references are given. Two newspaper articles are reproduced, one on student searches, the other on the use of dogs for drug detection. A short paper by Justice Stanley Mosk on "School Safety and the Law" is also included. (PPB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Justice, Washington, DC. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Authoring Institution: National School Safety Center, Malibu, CA.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: New Jersey v TLO