SUSPICIONLESS SEARCHES OF PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS: AN EMPIRICAL LEGAL ANALYSIS
This Article presents an original empirical legal analysis of recent data from the U.S. Department of Education’s School Survey on Crime and Safety. The results of the analysis suggest that many public schools are violating students’ civil rights by conducting suspicionless, intrusive searches without valid justifications, such as having particularized evidence of a drug or weapons problem. Furthermore, the data indicate that many school officials may be using illegitimate criteria – most notably race – to determine whether to conduct those searches. For example, in schools that did not report any student violations relating to weapons, alcohol or drugs during the school year, schools with high minority populations were more than twice as likely to perform suspicionless, intrusive searches than schools with low minority populations. These findings hold true even when taking into account schools officials’ perceptions of the levels of crime where students live and where the school is located. The results underscore the importance of requiring school officials to provide particularized, objective evidence of a drug or weapons problem to justify these searches under the Fourth Amendment. Performing such searches without sufficient justification violates a fundamental civil right in the very institution where children should be educated about good citizenship. Schools cannot expect students to learn important constitutional principles when school authorities disregard them.
Jason P. Nance. 2012. "SUSPICIONLESS SEARCHES OF PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS: AN EMPIRICAL LEGAL ANALYSIS" ExpressO
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jason_nance/3