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Search and Seizure in Schools


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Search and Seizure Cases
Search and Seizure in Schools
Getty Images/Michael McClosky

Search and Seizure Cases

There are many search and seizure cases that shaped the process concerning schools. The Supreme Court applied the “special needs” exception to a public school environment in the case, New Jersey v T.L.O., supra (1985). In this case, the Court decided that the warrant requirement was not suitable for a school setting primarily because it would interfere with a school’s need to expedite a school’s informal disciplinary procedures quickly.

T.L.O., supra centered around females students who were found smoking in a school bathroom. An administrator searched a student’s purse and found cigarettes, rolling papers, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. The Court found that the search was justified at its inception because there were reasonable grounds that a search would find evidence of a student’s violation or a law or school policy. The court also concluded in that ruling that a school has the power to implement a certain amount of control and supervision over students that would be deemed unconstitutional if exerted on an adult.

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