Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Court of Appeals Rules to Protect Students

Students used to never win. No matter how unreasonable, the courts always said the principals were right. Until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Safford Unified School District, that strip searching students on little or no information goes to far.

This is NC's first attempt at this since Safford:

In re T.A.S. I don't usually post about juvenile cases, but this one cries out for coverage.

The Brunswick County Academy (below) is a school for troubled children. At the door to get in, there is a metal detector and a search of effects occurs.

On November 5, 2008, the school received a tip from one of the students that some pills were going around that weren't safe. The tip didn't name any students.

School principal, Sandra Robinson, then undertook a school-wide search, in children's pockets, shoes, socks, and finally, under outer clothing, including underneath girls' bras. The girls were required to perform a “bra lift,” where they “pull their shirts out,” “shake them,” and “go underneath themselves with their thumb in the middle of their bra [to] pull it out.” All in the presence of school officials and at least one male law enforcement officer.

The search was a blanket search for contraband, without any reasonable suspicion for particular students.

During the search, one student had a percocet pill on her. She was charged and challenged the search.

HELD: While generalized searches for weapons are allowed, this level of intrusion on so limited suspicion is unconstitutional.

Yay for rights of children to be free from being terrorized by schools! But just barely...

Steelman Dissented.

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