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  1. #1
    fancypants is offline Junior Member
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    constitutional rights on a high school campus

    California

    Does the right to privacy hold true on a public high school campus? Can a police officer search a student, without consent, if the student has not been arrested?

    Thanks.
  2. #2
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    A police officer can search a student on a public high school campus without the student's consent, even if the student has not been arrested.

    While it is nice to believe you have a right to privacy while on school property, this right is not fully vested until you are an adult. There can be locker searches and backpack searches and body searches - all perfectly legal and, in today's climate, often necessary.
  3. #3
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    I don't ever remember reading in the constitution anything about rights ripening with age. A cop searching without warrant or PC? I don;t think so.
  4. #4
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    this is an excerpt from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation:

    Warrantless searches
    The law recognizes two kinds of searches, warrantless searches and those with a search warrant. For teachers and principals who usually have to act on the spot to protect students, as long as a reasonable suspicion exists, a warrantless search is permitted.

    On the other hand, police must have a search warrant most of the time before they can conduct a search. A warrant is a document a police officer obtains from a judge who is convinced that a law has been broken based on the evidence presented.

    That evidence, known as probable cause, has to be solid enough to justify the police entering a property and conducting a search.
    they were addressing 4th amend rights.
  5. #5
    Confuzed80 is offline Junior Member
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    I dont be to completely disagree with the guy that said u dont need to be arrested at school to be searched, it might be needed... but what it comes down to is probable cause or a willing to testify witness. Even for the school itself to conduct a simple locker search there has to be a pretty strong reason or proof for the search unless it is done across the board. cuz if lil johnny is gettin his locker searched while lil samantha is gettin away with murder and not searched its called discrimination unless there is probable cause that will stand up in court. And all of this applies to the cops too and where ever anyone may be. The cop has to have good reason for singling a person out and searching them for stuff and no one else. If the cop was smart he would know this cuz if this ever went to court or someone filed a complaint against him and he couldnt justify his own actions/reasons for a search then he would get fired and the city would be getting sued.... so the answer to ur question is yes u can be searched without being arrested, but the cop has to have real good justifiable reasons for the search or an eye witness willing to testify that ur the person bein searched is guilty
  6. #6
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    uh, ya, sure, whatever you say.
  7. #7
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    justalayman -

    On school grounds, searches can be conducted legally without warrants, if a situation demands it - and most of the high schools, around here at least, have either security guards on the grounds or police officers who have offices in the schools. They are considered part of the staff.

    Yes, there does have to be a reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a search of a student - but a student certainly does not have to be arrested first for such a search to take place.

    And Confuzed is correct that school-wide locker searches are allowed. Singling out one or two students for a locker search, however, would be, as Confuzed says, discrimination - unless reasonable suspicion exists for these particular lockers to be searched.

    As for rights "ripening with age", a high school student just does not have the rights an adult has, including certain privacy rights.

    Locker rooms and bathrooms are often supervised in high schools, for instance. And students cannot head out to the parking lot and drive away during school hours without permission, or often even to go to the bathroom without permission. There are a whole bunch of rules and regulations that students must follow in a school, which limits "rights".

    And then parents can further limit these rights once the student comes home from school.
  8. #8
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    OP specifically stated :

    Can a police officer search a student
    from everything I have read, the exigence that allows school staff to engage in such a search is not extended to the police.
  9. #9
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Locker rooms and bathrooms are often supervised in high schools, for instance. And students cannot head out to the parking lot and drive away during school hours without permission, or often even to go to the bathroom without permission. There are a whole bunch of rules and regulations that students must follow in a school, which limits "rights".
    those are not infingements of rights. Those are rules that are acceptable to be enforced as a condition of being a student. It is not the age that allows the seperate treatment.

    Nothing you stated would be an infringement of anybodies rights. The rules state you cannot leave during class time. The school cannot prevent you from leaving (which would be an infringement of ones rights) but they can enforce such a rule and provide punishment should one break the rules. If you do not wish to abide by the rules, they don;t have to let you in the school. No loss of rights.
  10. #10
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    OP specifically stated, "Can a police officer search a student, without consent, if the student has not been arrested?" The answer is yes.

    On a public high school campus, the police can search a student without that student's consent even if the student has not been arrested. But there has to be reasonable suspicion in order to do so. And the police must be able to justify their search later if it is challenged in court.

    If a student were to tell a teacher that another student has a gun tucked in his jacket, for instance, the teacher is probably not going to search the kid himself - the teacher is going to call the police. The police can search the student on school grounds without the consent of the student and without a warrant and without an arrest. Searches are allowed without warrants in all cases if the searches are necessary to protect the safety of the public.

    As for school rules vs. the constitutional rights of high school students, the rights of students are not automatically co-extensive with the rights of adults. Court cases have demonstrated that students do not always have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, or the right to privacy. To punish a student for exercising a "right" in violation of a "rule" seems to prove that there is separate treatment based strictly on age, as adult rules are not allowed to violate rights.
  11. #11
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post

    As for school rules vs. the constitutional rights of high school students, the rights of students are not automatically co-extensive with the rights of adults. Court cases have demonstrated that students do not always have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, or the right to privacy. To punish a student for exercising a "right" in violation of a "rule" seems to prove that there is separate treatment based strictly on age, as adult rules are not allowed to violate rights.
    BS. the courts have upheld those rights when they were actually rights of the students. You are misundestanding what are rights and what are not from what I can see.


    and I would like to see support about the cop and the search. The gun situation is not a fair response. A gun situation IS an exigent circumstance that would allow a police search. There are many other situations that a cop could not search without a warrant. You have to limit your claim to actual student rights and student property. The student has no right to control school property.

    and as such, I need to alter my response as well;

    the proper respnse to the OP's questions is: sometimes
  12. #12
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    Children have the right to live free from hunger, abuse, neglect and other inhumane conditions. And children have a constitutionally-based liberty interest in the protection of their established families. However, a parent's right to autonomy in child rearing is a fundamental right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. It is the government's assumption that parents have the best interests of their children in mind when they make decisions for them.

    One of the decisions parents make is to allow schools to "parent" their children during the school day - and to make the necessary decisions for these children during that time.

    There have been cases where children have won court battles in the past, certainly - especially where the cases have involved the severing of parental ties. But these children have only been able to bring these cases to court and win these cases in court with the support of adults who joined them in bringing their cases to court.

    The U.S. Supreme Court is increasingly less likely today to support any child's claim to constitutional rights. In the liberal Warren court, 100% of the "child constitutional rights" cases brought before the Court upheld children's claims of constitutional rights, whereas only 22% of the constitutional cases brought before the Rehnquist Court were decided in a child's favor. The cases heard in recent years have included equal protection, privacy, free exercise of religion, due process and free expression.

    Children do not share in an adult's Constitutional rights. Children may be detained in situations where an adult would not be, for instance. Bail is not set for children. Children do not receive the benefit of a jury by their peers. These are only some of the ways that children's rights differ from the rights of adults. Those making these constitutional rights decisions have increasingly held that children are not capable of making certain decisions on their own (children need to obtain parental consent to have an abortion and parents can make medical decisions for their child, as two examples), and they are not capable of handling all of the legal rights guaranteed to adults under the Constitution.

    So, again I will say that the correct answer to fancypants' question is not "no" and is not "sometimes" but it is "YES - a police officer can search a student, without the student's consent, if the student has not been arrested." Not only on school property, but off school property as well. The "gun situation" is definitely a fair response.
    Last edited by quincy; 04-19-2008 at 10:11 AM.
  13. #13
    Perky is offline Senior Member
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    I found this whole discussion interesting, so I googled a bit. Although I don't know anything about the legitimacy of this site, I thought the explanation of student rights vs. constitutional rights was pretty good.
    [url]http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_stud.html[/url]
  14. #14
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you, perroloco2!

    The court cases cited are certainly appropriate to the discussion here and the site itself certainly points out what I have been trying to say to justalayman.
  15. #15
    Perky is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post
    Thank you, perroloco2!

    The court cases cited are certainly appropriate to the discussion here and the site itself certainly points out what I have been trying to say to justalayman.
    Quite welcome!

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