New Jersey v. T.L.O.

By: Jessica S, Jessica V, Emily, Courtney

Back Story

Argued- March 28, 1984
Decided- January 15, 1985

  • 4th Amendment states that citizens are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures
  • 1980 at Piscataway High School in Middlesex County, New Jersey 2 students were found smoking in a restroom by a teacher
  • 2 girls taken to principles office where 1 admitted to the accusations
  • TLO denied smoking
  • Assistant Principle grabbed T.L.O's bag and found found papers, a pipe, marijuana, a large wad of money and 2 letters that that indicated she was selling
  • T.L.O was taken to the police station and confessed to smoking
  • She was sentenced to a year on probation but this was over turned by the Supreme Court because her 4th Amendment rights were violated


  • New Jersey won
  • Students have a right to privacy under the 4th Amendment and school officials are bound by constitutional restriction
  • But students/ adolescents are not the same as adults
  • Schools have the responsibility to keep order within
  • There needs to be probable cause in order to search a students belongings
  • Schools just have to state that they had probable cause

Search ad Seizure

  • Search-looks for evidence of wrong doing in places where people have an "expectation of privacy"
  • Locker/Desk
-School staff can look at a students belonging without telling a student
-Schools can make their own polices
  • Person/Property

-can be searched with reasonable cause

-the search must be justified when it starts and reasonable with how it is done

  • Seizure- Confiscation material that is against school policy