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NCJ Number: 142031 Find in a Library
Journal: Journal of Juvenile Law  Volume:13  Dated:(1992)  Pages:116-126
Author(s): J D Cavin
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 11
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The trend in recent case law is to make an action to recover for an unreasonable school search extremely difficult; elimination of any warrant requirement means that even the most intrusive search will not necessarily be subject to prior review by a neutral third party.
Abstract: The reasonable suspicion standard has so broadened the scope of permissible official action that only the most arbitrary and egregious searches give rise to a cause of action under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act. Although Section 1983 seems to be an adequate vehicle for recovery when a student's right to be secure against unreasonable searches is violated, the question remains as to what constitutes an unreasonable search in the public school context. Practical limitations exist on recovery in Section 1983 school search actions. However, in trying to balance the student's privacy interest against the school's interest in maintaining discipline, the U.S. Supreme Court seems to lean toward the side of school officials. By broadening the scope of reasonable and constitutional searches, the threshold at which immunity attaches is lowered. This is true not only because fewer school searches are actually illegal but also because the reasonable suspicion standard broadens the scope of acts which school officials may reasonably believe to be lawful. 74 footnotes
Main Term(s): School searches
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Public schools; Right of privacy; Rights of minors; School discipline; Search and seizure laws; US Supreme Court decisions
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