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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99459 Find in a Library
Title: Fourth Amendment and the Public Schools
Journal: Whittier Law Review  Volume:7  Issue:2  Dated:(1985)  Pages:527-549
Author(s): J C Hogan; M D Schwartz
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 23
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in New Jersey v. T.L.O. and discusses the results and implications of a survey of public school search and seizure policies.
Abstract: In T.L.O., the Court decided upon the requisite amount of cause needed to search a student's purse. The majority maintained that the fourth amendment prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure applied to school searches, but that probable cause and warrant requirements did not. To examine the relationship of the decision to policies, questionnaires were sent to 15 geographically distributed school districts. All of the school districts contacted had formal guidelines or policy statements on search and seizure. Some provide specific procedures to be followed, while others are more general. None of the districts maintained statistical records on the number of students searched. Law enforcement agents usually were not involved in school searches, and schools seemed to follow a reasonable suspicion standard for searches conducted by school personnel. All districts have written policies permitting school personnel to open and search lockers for contraband. Thus, the majority decision in T.L.O. seems to conform with the standard already in practice in public schools, and school officials appear to have little problem in understanding reasonableness as grounds for school searches. It is concluded that the traditional in loco parentis view has been replaced by the more appropriate practice of conducting searches that are justified at inception and permissible in scope. Included are 104 footnotes and sample forms informing students of the rights and limitations of rights associated with the use of student lockers and parking lots.
Index Term(s): Crime control policies; School security; Search and seizure laws; Standards implementation; US Supreme Court decisions; Warrantless search
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