Searching for Safety

Is the student's privacy more important than their safety?

How can students be the slightest bit safe with the possession of drugs or weapons within their school? The right to search student's bags and lockers is protecting the students, yet, some believe that the safety doesn't matter and that these searches destroy the student's privacy.

Some school officials fear that searching the students and their backpacks may violate the students' rights. Hawaii's Board of Education policy states that school officials may open and search school lockers at any time, however, opponents say conducting random locker searches using a drug-sniffing dog violate's the student's right to privacy. The school officials' only goal for the searches is to keep the students safe. In fact, Principal Dan Beckeman stated, "The main reason we do this is to emphasize to students and parents that we will assure them as safe a school as possible in terms of being drug-free."

The Supreme Court figured out that using a police dog on a suspect's property to sniff drugs without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches. Even though the dog went no further than the front porch of the suspect's house, Justice Scalia said that the Fourth Amendment protects the house as well as its surroundings. Though this is true outside of school, a warrant isn't needed in schools.

Some search cases are that a kindergarten student that was 7 years old brought 18 bags of heroin and gave them to some of his classmates, calling them the "magic tickets". The boy also had razors in his backpack because he physically harmed himself.Also, drug-sniffing dogs led through Milton schools for the first time led to the arrest of three students for possession of marijuana. If these searches had not been conducted, the students may have continued drug trafficking and put others in life-threatening danger.

In conclusion, the possession of any dangerous objects within school creates an unsafe learning environment and has to come to an end. It threatens the students themselves and others around them. Is the student's right to privacy really more important than their safety? Although unnecessary searches on a subject's property violates the Fourth Amendment, exceptions are definitely needed in schools.

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Q: What do you think about bag and locker searches in schools?

A: "I think it's a fabulatastic idea because if we didn't, the students in possession of drugs may become addicted and fail classes." -Dane Kveton

A: "I think it is an extremely good idea because it will help the community become cleaner and less dangerous." -Sam Dauskurdas

A: "It's good so people can't share dangerous things with other people." -Luke Fidler