Blog

Student Searches: Know Your Rights

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Oct 01, 2021 | 0 Comments

With the rise in school shootings and the problem of students bringing drugs into schools, student searches have become more prevalent. It's a preventative measure designed to protect students, faculty, and staff. There is, however, a fine line between security and infringing upon the rights of students. School administrators and even the police cannot just search at will, students K-12 or in college. Every student is protected by the Fourth Amendment right to protection from unreasonable searches. As faculty and administrators have a duty to provide a safe learning environment, this protection tends to be somewhat diminished. School officials need to balance security needs with student's rights.

K-12

In K-12 public schools, the vast majority of students are minors whose parents have a right to give or not give consent to searches on their children's behalf. Due to the increase in school violence, the law is sometimes interpreted to give the power of guardianship to school officials while minor students are on school grounds. A Supreme Court ruling in 1985 upheld the application of the Fourth Amendment to students in school and stated that restrictions against searches should be eased in a school environment. It adds up to a murky interpretation that is often problematic.

Circumstances that Allow Searches

Just as with adults, school officials are allowed to conduct a search if there is reasonable suspicion of a felony. The word “reasonable” is sometimes loosely applied.

For a police officer or other law enforcement official to conduct a student search, they must have probable cause to do so. This goes beyond mere suspicion and reaches the standard that a crime is likely being committed. The school or law enforcement officials may search any student that consents to a search.

Random searches such as metal detectors in entrances or drug-sniffing dogs are legal as they are considered random and a preventative measure.

College Campuses

Student searches on college campuses are different from K-12 schools as most of the students are not minors and are treated legally as adults. Students who live in dorms are in a unique situation. As the dorm buildings are the school's property, residents have less privacy and fewer rights than tenants of off-campus housing. Campus police and your resident advisor are permitted to enter your room to search without your permission. Generally, this is limited to a visual search, and they are not allowed to go through drawers, closets, or personal belongings.

Living in a dorm can result in a search you do not consent to unfortunately. You may find yourself facing a hearing board. This can be intimidating and can damage your academic career. You need representation. Contact the Lento Law firm at 888-535-3686. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the experience and skill to represent you and see that your rights are upheld. He's a fighter who wins for his clients.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

footer-2.jpg

If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu