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One major issue is the right of school officials to search students and their possessions on school grounds.  In New Jersey v. T.L.O., the Supreme Court helped clarify whether the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures applied to school officials as well as to police officers.  The Court found that students are, in fact, constitutionally protected from illegal searches, but school officials are not bound by the same restrictions as law enforcement agents.
The Court has allowed school authorities to conduct random drug-tests, on the grounds that they are less intrusive than a search of a student’s body.  In Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, the court allowed the testing of student athletes who were going off campus to engage in events.  In a subsequent case, Board Of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County et al. v. Earls et al., the court extended the right to test for drugs, without probable cause, to all students, as long as the drug-testing policies were “reasonable.”  The need for maintaining swift and informal disciplinary procedures to maintain order in a public school outweighs the right to personal privacy.
The Supreme Court clarified the issue of drug searchers in Safford v. Redding, a 2009 case that drew national headlines.  The Court agreed that search measures used by school officials to root out contraband, must be “reasonably related to the objectives of the search, and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student, and the nature of the infraction.”.
One of the most divisive issues involving free speech is school prayer.  The Supreme Court ruled that prayers led by an “elected” student undermine the protection of minority viewpoints.  The Court has also ruled that it is a violation of the First Amendment’s free speech clause to deny a club access to the school space on the grounds that the club was religious in nature.

  • Write a 1-page, double-spaced paper that uses a precedent case to answer the following questions:
    • Should students expect certain privacies in school? 
    • Should you be able to say whatever you want in school or at a school event? Why or why not?

Support your work with scholarly academic resources, textbooks, or other sources provided.  Use of APA format is required.

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