The Fourth Amendment in Schools. What's Your Opinion?

How should the 4th Amendment apply to schools?

  • Minors are not legal citizens and thus have no constitutional rights.

    Votes: 3 7.0%
  • The 4th amendment is a staple in our nation and all citizens should should be protected by it.

    Votes: 14 32.6%
  • The risk should be assessed and in urgent cases should be violated (think guns or explosives)

    Votes: 11 25.6%
  • Schools are a special environment and the 4th amendment should not apply to them,

    Votes: 15 34.9%

  • Total voters
    43

appleguy123

macrumors 604
Original poster
Apr 1, 2009
6,551
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15 minutes in the future
At least in my school the Fourth Amendment is the most unclear of all of our Constitutional Rights. To stop me from waisting your time here is the text of the Amendment.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
So should students (in your opinion) have the right secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unwarranted searching by teachers and other adult authority figures?
This is one debate where I see, and agree with, both sides of the issue. In disagreement to this right; Is requiring a warrant or Third-Person probable cause too time consuming and incommodious to properly secure students from threats of violence and other threats?
But on the other side of the issue; Is it appropriate to take away rights, conceived by our Forefathers with the health and security of our nation in mind, from students. When you start with taking away "unneeded" rights to do what administrators think is right for their subordinate subjects? It is definitely a slippery slope.Privacy is also a great issue in this. Teenagers are at an awkward time in life where privacy and social stability are the primary staples in life?
Two possible situations. What is your opinion on these.
1. A Principal of a High School hears from many students that Student X is selling drugs on campus. So said Principal calls Student X out of his class and has him empty his bags.
2. There is a rabid drug problem in Principal's school, but know one will talk. He orders all students to report to The Commons and empty their bags and pockets and all other places of concealment.
So whats you opinion on 4th amendment, and especially how it applies in schools.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,140
13,982
All I know is if situation 2 ever occurred to me that principle would no longer have a job.
 

TuffLuffJimmy

macrumors G3
Apr 6, 2007
8,989
25
Portland, OR
Actually it has happened in my school. It fueled me making this thread.
Situation 1 and 2 are unconstitutional. If there is enough evidence that a student is selling drugs the principal needs to contact the police and have them get a warrant. The second example is a disgusting exercise of power.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,043
1,174
5045 feet above sea level
My bigger issue is dui checkpoints and heres my thread on it if one's interested

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=780171

However op, do you object to

1)metal detectors at places?
2) how about airports and their security?
3) dui as mentioned above

The fact is at school, it is their property and they are trusted by the state to be your guardian during school hrs.

On a side note, do minors have the same rights as adults?

At my work, I am subject to search at ANY time, even my own property (car, bags, phone, etc) while on company property
 

appleguy123

macrumors 604
Original poster
Apr 1, 2009
6,551
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15 minutes in the future
Situation 1 and 2 are unconstitutional. If there is enough evidence that a student is selling drugs the principal needs to contact the police and have them get a warrant. The second example is a disgusting exercise of power.
Situation 1 is 3rd person probable cause I {think} that makes it Constitutional.
EDIT: and when situation 2 happened I did not empty my belongings. I did not have anything but it was the principle of the matter. I carry a pocket constitution because I believe that if people do not know their rights, they are damned to be stripped of them. The principal brought me to his office ( he knew I wasn't the drug type) and asked me what was up, I told him that he was not going to violate my rights. He sent me away and oddly enough commended me for knowing my rights. I go to a weird school.
 

TuffLuffJimmy

macrumors G3
Apr 6, 2007
8,989
25
Portland, OR
Situation 1 is 3rd person probable cause I {think} that makes it Constitutional.
In schools.
I'm pretty sure situation 1 is allowed in schools, however, students do lose a lot of the fourth amendment's protection when in school and I think that's wrong.
My bigger issue is dui checkpoints and heres my thread on it if one's interested

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=780171
Agreed. I still don't understand how the police are allowed to do that. I guess whatever law gives them the right to turn on their lights just so they don't have to stop at stop lights.
 

appleguy123

macrumors 604
Original poster
Apr 1, 2009
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15 minutes in the future
In schools.
I'm pretty sure situation 1 is allowed in schools, however, students do lose a lot of the fourth amendment's protection when in school and I think that's wrong.


Agreed. I still don't understand how the police are allowed to do that. I guess whatever law gives them the right to turn on their lights just so they don't have to stop at stop lights.
This is a question not an attack. Do you have to sign anything when you get your license that allows police to do this to you?
 

Matthew Yohe

macrumors 68020
Oct 12, 2006
2,198
129
Situation 1 is 3rd person probable cause I {think} that makes it Constitutional.
Read: New Jersey v. T. L. O.

If situation 1 gives the principal a "reasonable suspicion" to believe that student X is selling drugs, then it's probably constitutional.

Also, are we doing your homework here?
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,043
1,174
5045 feet above sea level
Also, are we doing your homework here?
Lol it does sound like a potential hw question!

No if you were I would be upfront about it. This is a huge problem in my school and I am trying to find ammunition (or conversely if I am wrong) to protect student rights.
If there is suspicion, then how are these searches "unreasonable"? Especially if it is as big a problem as you let on

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The probable cause is illustrated by the following posts you had made is it not?

There is a rabid drug problem in Principal's school, but know one will talk. He orders all students to report to The Commons and empty their bags and pockets and all other places of concealment.
and
This is a huge problem in my school
What is your argument for it being "unreasonable"?
 

Matthew Yohe

macrumors 68020
Oct 12, 2006
2,198
129
This is a huge problem in my school and I am trying to find ammunition (or conversely if I am wrong) to protect student rights.
As I said, the principal only needs a reasonable suspicion for the first scenario.

Did the second occur? That probably wouldn't fly.
 

appleguy123

macrumors 604
Original poster
Apr 1, 2009
6,551
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15 minutes in the future
As I said, the principal only needs a reasonable suspicion for the first scenario.

Did the second occur? That probably wouldn't fly.
Yes the second did occur (see above) and @ Duke These searches ( I am referring to situation two) are the very definition of unreasonable. How is it logical to search every student in the school for an alleged crime committed by a small fraction of students. E
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,043
1,174
5045 feet above sea level
Yes the second did occur (see above) and @ Duke These searches ( I am referring to situation two) are the very definition of unreasonable. How is it logical to search every student in the school for an alleged crime committed by a small fraction of students. E
Large drug problem but no one is talking occuring on school property = searching said school's students hardly sounds unreasonable

if there was not a large problem, it would be unreasonable imo

You realize cars on school property are subject to search right? as are lockers too

You also realize this behavior by the school was probaby consented by your parents at the beginning of the year with the school policy

What does your school policy state? The one that you obviously agreed to as you are attending the school
 

appleguy123

macrumors 604
Original poster
Apr 1, 2009
6,551
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15 minutes in the future
Large drug problem but no one is talking occuring on school property = searching said school's students hardly sounds unreasonable

if there was not a large problem, it would be unreasonable imo
There is no probable cause indicating each student. It should be an individual search not a collective one. However searching lockers (especially if no fee is paid) is definitely legal and can be done w/o probable cause.
Oh and situation 2 was made up (the circumstances not the action of the principal) to allow for consistency with situation 1. Real life situation two happened when someone stole an iPod and other valuables.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,043
1,174
5045 feet above sea level
There is no probable cause indicating each student. It should be an individual search not a collective one.
But no one is talking according to you hence it needs to be collective to resolve it. During the school hrs, the school is your legal guardian...you know that right?
However searching lockers (especially if no fee is paid) is definitely legal and can be done w/o probable cause.
How is this any different than backpacks?

What are your thoughts on airport security?
 

appleguy123

macrumors 604
Original poster
Apr 1, 2009
6,551
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How is this any different than backpacks?

What are your thoughts on airport security?
Backpacks vs. Lockers- Lockers are school property backpacks are not.
Airport security- This thread is about schools but it is voluntary to fly but mandatory to attend school. Thus I believe any school handbooks or agreements are signed under duress.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,043
1,174
5045 feet above sea level
Thus I believe any school handbooks or agreements are signed under duress.
Hardly, you (most likely parents) agreed to them. If you had an issue, fight it then or go to another school (private, home school)
This thread is about schools but it is voluntary to fly but mandatory to attend school
Also it is not mandatory to attend school past the age of 16 in most states. Until then, it is your parents consent that is needed for such handbooks, not the studnets

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0112617.html

Backpacks vs. Lockers- Lockers are school property backpacks are not.
But the searches are being conducted on school property. You would have a point if it was off school property but it wasn't
 

appleguy123

macrumors 604
Original poster
Apr 1, 2009
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Hardly, you (most likely parents) agreed to them. If you had an issue, fight it then or go to another school (private, home school)

Also it is not mandatory to attend school past the age of 16 in most states. Until then, it is your parents consent that is needed for such handbooks, not the studnets

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0112617.html



But the searches are being conducted on school property. You would have a point if it was off school property but it wasn't
I signed the handbook not my parents. It has been that way since middle school.
Duress-threats, violence, {constraints}, or other action brought to bear on someone to do something against their will or better judgment
Constraint-a limitation or restriction
Not allowing a child the right to attend school without signing away their rights is definitely a limitation for the rest of life.
Roads are state property right? Then by your logic DUI checkpoints are perfectly legal.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,043
1,174
5045 feet above sea level
I signed the handbook not my parents. It has been that way since middle school.
Duress-threats, violence, {constraints}, or other action brought to bear on someone to do something against their will or better judgment
Constraint-a limitation or restriction
I am willing to bet that your parents had to sign in addition. In fact I am positive on it as you are a minor until 18 at which point you are a senior or out of hs. Just like you need parent permission to go on field trips or take sex ed

It is not duress as there are alternatives.
Not allowing a child the right to attend school without signing away their rights is definitely a limitation for the rest of life.
Yea, its a limitation but after 16, it's not mandatory to attend, limitation or not

Roads are state property right? Then by your logic DUI checkpoints are perfectly legal.
Roads are state property yes and DUI check points have been proven legal in court

What is legal may not be the same as what my opinion is;)
 

Ttownbeast

macrumors 65816
May 10, 2009
1,135
0
Educators are taught that from the time they enter the public school classroom they are employees of the government and must reasonably recognize the students rights to due process and practice proper procedures concerning search & seizure, as well as in any cases of punishment, and finding of facts within limits of specific district, county, state, and federal policies. This is part of the social contract we call our constitution.

Private institutions, companies, private schools, etc., are not so bound under the law. A private institution can implement it's own policies as they see fit (or in conjunction with collective bargaining such as unions) short of violating criminal laws and general public safety and other limits in the application of policies. This is considered a business contract and there are limitations to the social contracts enforcement in private business.

First amendment rights outline freedom of speech and religion, private companies can require that upon hiring that a waiver be signed concerning confidentiality, and a church employing staff members can and will likely hire only those within their faith. The issue is the same for private websites and forums--ultimately it is the right of the webmaster to allow what traffic they want.

The fourth amendment outlines probable cause and due process, but again hiring in private business is based on a business contract and company practice--on agreement usually that the employment can be terminated by either party for no reason.

Generally within limits those rights are granted us as a protection from the government by the government--not against private industry, but one can waive those social rights too under certain circumstances.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,043
1,174
5045 feet above sea level
From http://criminal.lawyers.com/federal-criminal-law/blogs/archives/564-Does-the-4th-Amendment-apply-to-school-officials-as-it-relates-to-searches-of-students.html

The United States Supreme Court also held that School children have legitimate expectations of privacy and are protected against an illegal search by the police. They may find it necessary to carry with them a variety of legitimate, noncontraband items, and there is no reason to conclude that they have necessarily waived all rights to privacy in such items by bringing them onto school grounds. But striking the balance between school children's legitimate expectations of privacy and the school's equally legitimate need to maintain an environment in which learning can take place requires some easing of the restrictions to which searches by public authorities are ordinarily subject. Thus, school officials need not obtain a warrant before searching a student who is under their authority.


Moreover, school officials need not be held subject to the requirement that searches be based on probable cause to believe that the subject of the search has violated or is violating the law.

The search of a student by a school official will be justified at its inception where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school. And such a search will be permissible in its scope when the measures adopted are reasonably related to the objectives of the search, and not excessively intrusive in light of the student's age and sex and the nature of the infraction.
 

appleguy123

macrumors 604
Original poster
Apr 1, 2009
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631
15 minutes in the future
"And such a search will be permissible in its scope when the measures adopted are reasonably related to the objectives of the search, and not excessively intrusive in light of the student's age and sex and the nature of the infraction."
That line; Does it mean that schools can do whatever they want w/o probable cause? As long as it is not offensive to the students gender or age?
 

TuffLuffJimmy

macrumors G3
Apr 6, 2007
8,989
25
Portland, OR
What is your argument for it being "unreasonable"?
:rolleyes:
So if there were a murder in a town and there were no leads the government has the right to search every single home in the town? I think not.

It's incredibly unreasonable for the principal to search every student, even those not suspected. ESPECIALLY without reasonable suspicion on a student to student level.