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    Speak Up! - View Question #419

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    Question: Can a school official search your backpack without permission?

    Answer: The short answer is not unless the official has a 'reasonable suspicion' that something wrong has occurred and that evidence of the wrong will be found in the backpack.

    The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that people have a right to be secure against unreasonable searches of themselves and their belongings.

    The United States Supreme Court has decided that the Fourth Amendment applies to schools and that a search must meet the following requirements:

    1. The motivation for the search must be reasonable in light of the information that the school official obtained that made him or her think a search was necessary; and

    2. The measures adopted for the search must be reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction.

    A 'reasonable suspicion' is a belief or opinion based on the facts or circumstances. So if a school official has a reasonable suspicion that some wrong doing has occurred and that evidence of that may be found in your backpack, that official can probably search your backpack without your permission

    11 thru 15 of 53 comments     1   2  [ 3 ]  4   5  ...   
    On 02/15/06
    Jasmen from IA said:
    Last year I was searched for drugs just because I walked into the school with someone who people thought did drugs. The principal and secretary searched my school locker, gym locker and my car. I just didnt think that was right just becuause of who I walked in with.
    On 01/12/06
    Hailey from WV said:
    I am in middle school and just the other day I got searched because some teacher thought that I was trying to buy drugs from someone but that isn't even what happened. Before they searched my bag they told me what they were searching it for but I didn't think it was fair at all because knowing my reputation I would not do something like that. But they searched it anyway and didn't find anything. It was also really embarressing because I had femenime products in there and it was a man searching my backpack and that was an invasion of my privacy and I didn't like that.
    On 11/16/05
    kracker from OH said:
    If they tell you why they are searching your things, then they can search. Otherwise if you are searched before they tell you the reason, then it is unconstitutional!
    On 11/16/05
    Bob from OH said:
    I am a senior, and I think the backpack/bookbag searches are unconstutional. They are taking away our privacy!
    On 11/02/05
    JD from OK said:
    I think it is stupid that schools can search anything. However they can search lockers because it is thier property. Thats my 2 cents
    11 thru 15 of 53 comments     1   2  [ 3 ]  4   5  ...   

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