Student Freedoms Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

limits that should be placed upon search and seizure in public schools.

Apply specific legal rulings to support your position.

Analyze the New Jersey v. T.L.O. case and explain how it supports or undermines your argument.

Recommend changes to existing (specific) laws to create a fairer educational setting in terms of search and seizure.

It seems to me that search and seizure of student and faculty member possession should be scrupulously directed by the Fourth Amendment and the Fifth Amendment and that searches conducted on students should be implemented with the same dignity and in the same manner as they are conducted on faculty members. Research shows that schools are becoming increasingly restrictive in their investigation and that they, frequently, fail to protect even the basic Fourth Amendment privacy rights of the students (Berger, 2003)

The Fourth Amendment prohibits "unreasonable" searches and seizures. It is concerned with the manner that the school may conduct the investigation and ensures that the school does not act in an overly zealous manner. On the one hand, the school cares about the safety of other students and faculty members. This is particularly so given today's rising manifestation of violence in school settings. On the other hand, schools have lost many a case due to their overly severe and sweeping investigations. The school wishes to tread a balanced line. And this is where the guidelines of the Fifth Amendment come in.

The Fifth Amendment is a follow-up to the Fourth Amendment. It says that search and seizure should be preceded by the following two steps:

The employee should give the faculty member / student a chance to tell his or her story

He should inform the faculty member / student about what he intends to do and why

A comparatively minor offence can be addressed by a 'chat' in the principal's office. A more significant offense (such as smuggling of drugs) for instance where penalties that involve criminal charges, potential job loss, and expulsion loom need a more intensive hearing with, possibly, legal representation present.

Instances of where the Fourth Amendment applies would be in the following cases. These, depending on results, may be followed by practice of the Fifth Amendment:

Searching the student's car

Metal-detectors and locker searches

Drug-sniffing dogs on campus (Pinard, 2003))

However, there is a great deal of difference between the tone and intensity of the search conducted on the faculty member and those conducted on students. Contrast will point this out. Faculty staff seems to be accorded more rights than students in regards to the state of search and seizure of their belongings. They are generally granted a greater amount of privacy in regards to their offices, lockers, personal effects, and persons. Schools know that were their case to come to court, they must be prepared to fully justify reasons for their search and the intensity of their search. Searches of possession of faculty member are, therefore, conducted less frequently and on a far less intensive level than they are for students. Exceptions exist in rare cases such as for the search of a gun or when a staff member has permitted the search.

Urinalysis for employees is generally given only on personnel insensitive safety positions, such as on a bus-driver, or on hose who use hazardous substances or operate…

Sources Used in Documents:


Berger, R (2003) The "Worst of Both Worlds": School Security and the Disappearing Fourth Amendment Rights of Students Criminal Justice Review Autumn 28 2 336-354

Beyer, D. (1997) School Safety and the Legal Rights of Students. ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education. ERIC/CUE Digest, Number 121.

Pinard, M (2003) From the Classroom to the Courtroom: Reassessing Fourth Amendment Standards in Public School Searches Involving Law Enforcement Authorities Ariz. L. Rev., 24, 1

The Center for Public Education. Search and seizure, due process, and public schools

Cite This Term Paper:

"Student Freedoms" (2012, November 05) Retrieved September 25, 2020, from

"Student Freedoms" 05 November 2012. Web.25 September. 2020. <>

"Student Freedoms", 05 November 2012, Accessed.25 September. 2020,