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School administrators conduct a search to gather evidence for school discipline. At times law enforcement and school administrators may, therefore, have different purposes for a potential search.
One tool for keeping schools safe is the use of student searches. This right is diminished in the school environment, however, because of the unique need to maintain a safe atmosphere where learning and teaching can occur.
Schools must strike a balance between the student's right to privacy and the need to maintain school safety. But are law enforcement officials assigned to schools to maintain safety subject to the reasonable suspicion standard or the higher probable cause standard?
Therefore, his discipline for failing to consent to a legal search was upheld.
School officials conduct individual searches when they suspect that a student or a small group of students possesses evidence of a violation of the law or school rules.
One crucial difference in their purposes is the ability to use the results of an illegal search in a disciplinary hearing but not in a criminal proceeding.
School administrators face severe threats to school safety and are simultaneously held increasingly accountable to the public and policymakers to keep students safe.
This vagueness leaves teachers, administrators, policymakers, and school security and law enforcement personnel wondering what constitutes a legal search of a student in a public school. Schools argued that administrators acted in loco parentis—in the place of the parent—while students were at school. Reasonable suspicion is satisfied when two conditions exist: (1) the search is justified at its inception, meaning that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will reveal evidence that the student has violated or is violating the law or school rules, and (2) the search is reasonably related in scope to the circumstances that justified the search, meaning that the measures used to conduct the search are reasonably related to the objectives of the search and that the search is not excessively intrusive in light of the student's age and sex and the nature of the offense. When consent is granted, officials may conduct the search only within the boundaries of the consent.
If a student consents to the search of her purse, for example, an administrator may not search her locker unless the search of the purse provides probable cause or reasonable suspicion to search the locker.
School officials and law enforcement officers are not required to advise students that they have a right to refuse to give consent to search.
Some school policies or state regulations, however, may require that they advise students of their rights.