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NCJ Number: 99110 Find in a Library
Title: Justifying School Searches - The Problems With the Doctrine of 'in Loco Parentis'
Journal: Journal of Juvenile Law  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:(1984)  Pages:140-148
Author(s): D Mahoney
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the doctrine of in loco parentis and its use as validation for school searches and reviews recent court decisions which reject this doctrine and replace it with one that views schools as special situations requiring some intrusions on otherwise protected privacy.
Abstract: Until recently, the doctrine of in loco parentis, whereby parents were viewed as handing over parental duties and powers to school authorities, has been used implicitly and explicitly to explain the authority of school officials to conduct warrantless searches. However, criticisms of this use of the doctrine, both by scholars and in judges' dissenting opinions, have led to its rejection by several courts. In Horton v. Goosecreek Independent School District, the court held that the use of dogs in random sniff searching for drug detection was unconstitutional for persons, but not for automobiles and school lockers. In rejecting the in loco parentis doctrine, the court held that school officials have special duties and associated powers similar to those in such special situations as airports and borders. This holding does away with the conflicting choices of protecting the individual child or the student body and adhering to the interest of society in the detection of crime. In re T.L.O., the court overturned drug convictions on the grounds that the school officials did not have reasonable grounds for a belief that the student possessed evidence and that the evidence must be suppressed under the exclusionary rule. In attacking the doctrine of in loco parentis, the courts have recognized the school as a special situation or pervasively regulated business and have acknowledged school officials' authority to protect students and themselves. A total of 34 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Crime in schools; Investigative powers; Judicial decisions; Parental rights; Rights of minors; Rules of evidence; Warrantless search
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