Legal Memorandum Essay

Words: 2791
Pages: 12


To: Scott Haddock, Supervising Attorney

From: Bob Barker, Super Senior Paralegal

Re: Paige Turner Our file No.: 12095 Public school searches

Date: June 6, 2013

I. Issues

1. The issue is whether public school officials have the authority to perform strip searches of students in suspicion of hiding illegal drugs.

2. The issue is whether public school districts can perform random drug screening of students who participate in school athletic programs under state or federal law.

II. Brief Answers

1. No. Strip searches of students in public schools of students are completely prohibited by state and federal law under any circumstances.

2. Public school officials are in
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at 341. School officials do not have to obtain a search warrant in order to search a student under their authority. T.L.O. at 340.

A search is justified at inception “when 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 rules of the school.” T.L.O., 469 U.S. at 342.

Students are subject to numerous regulations on their behavior when they are in school and because school officials need to maintain order in school, a student’s reasonable expectation of privacy is lower than that enjoyed by the populous generally. T.L.O., 469 U.S. at 348

Safford Unified School Dist. No. 1 v. Redding, 557 U.S. 364, 129 S. Ct. 2633, 174 L. Ed. 2d 354 (2009). The Ninth Circuit found that Savana’s Fourth Amendment rights were clearly broken. “A search of pocketbook belonging to a female high school student suspected of smoking was justified where the school official found cigarettes and cigarette rolling papers, and upon a further inspection uncovered some marijuana, a pipe, plastic bags, money, and an index card and letters that implicated the defendant in dealing marijuana in the purse” T.L.O., 469 U.S. at 342, 346-7. The court gave the reason that there was no "indication of danger to the students from the power of the drugs or their quantity, and [no]