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Crime in Schools & Student Rights

Police have increasingly been called into the public educational setting to insure the safety of high school campuses. Many school districts have their own police departments, or "school police," who head security departments on campus. Their credibility as police officers helps to insure a safe environment in which learning can take place. Drugs, weapons, on-campus brawls, and traffic problems are less likely when students see that the full force of the law is at hand. Background information on school police in some communities will provide an introduction to what many believe is the best solution to crime in today's high schools. At the same time, however, issues of search/seizure, random drug testing, locker searches, and strip searching have been brought to the forefront by the advent of tightened security measures and an increase in crime. The constitutionality of the above issues will be discussed, and some relevant court cases will be examined.

Increased drug use and violence in the public schools have prompted school administrators to implement policies and procedures to combat undesirable student behaviors. Public pressure has led school officials to conduct searches of lockers and personal property with greater frequency. Many principals have even resorted to the use of strip searches when they believe they are necessary--and reasonable. Even so, as one article surveying the issue points out, "As effective as these practices may seem to be, the administrator risks great legal jeopardy by carrying them out" (Clearing House 275).

Administrators who choose to do such searches open themselves up to litigation there is not a reasonable assurance that a strip search is necessary, the student is found innocent, an overly intrusive search method is used. The Clearing House article cited above tells a cautionary tale about six boys who were strip searched and later found innocent; the boys received damages of $50,0...

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Crime in Schools & Student Rights. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:37, May 20, 2019, from