Know Your Child’s Rights Regarding Search
Hello, my name is Brian L. Jackson. I’m a Tulsa fathers’ rights attorney here with Dads.Law, where fathers are not disposable, and I’m here on location beside the Arkansas River in front of the PSO power plant. I’m here with my daughter and my dog, and they’re here just to remind us of why, just to remind everybody of why we’re here, what matters, family.
I want to talk to you guys a little bit about some interesting developments recently locally. A recent unit came down from Claremore Schools, basically taking the position that they can search a child’s personal possessions and the child’s person any time they want for any reason at all or no reason at all if the child happens to be on school grounds.
This does raise an interesting question. What are your child’s rights when it comes to search and seizure laws? The answer is, as a matter of federal constitutional law, the child does have some protection under the Fourth Amendment from searches and from the evidence of searches being used in criminal procedures against them.
Search and Seizure Laws in Schools
However, the rules in school are a little bit different than, for example, if you get stopped by the side of the highway. A school can search a child, according to federal constitutional law, if they have a reasonable suspicion that the child is in possession of some kind of an item that would be disruptive, would create a safety hazard, or otherwise disrupt the security or the order of the school, which a reasonable suspicion is actually a lower standard even than probable cause.
Now, that’s for disciplinary purposes because, of course, if the search is specifically for law enforcement purposes, like, for example, if a child were suspected of having illegal drugs, that’s still probable cause. And that same standards apply there, although if it’s suspected to be on their person, you would still come under one of the warrant exceptions under existing Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, where they don’t need to get a warrant, but they do need to have probable cause if they want to search your child’s body.
Reasonable Searches and School Safety
The other thing to be aware of, too, is that the search has to be reasonable. So, depending on what exactly the school suspects, is going to control what type of a search is allowed. For example, if a child is suspected, let’s say, of possessing cigarettes, that is not generally going to be considered reasonable for the school to conduct a full-on strip search or a cavity search to look for cigarettes.
On the other hand, if the child was suspected of, say, having a firearm, such a search might be deemed reasonable because the firearm presents a far greater security hazard. So, I mean, the two issues to be aware of are, it’s a lower standard for when the search occurs for disciplinary purposes. It’s the usual probable cause when the search occurs for strictly law-enforcement purposes, and the search has to be reasonable. They can’t strip search your kid, for example, like I said, if they’re suspected of having cigarettes. It has to be reasonable.
Get Legal Help for Your Child
If your child’s been searched at school or there’s any issue with the school, you need a good lawyer. And one place you can find a good lawyer is Dads.Law, where fathers are not disposable.