Maintaining Orders and Qualified Immunity
Maintaining Orders and Qualified Immunity
The main purpose of this paper is to study and analyze the issue of the search and seizure standards when applied to public schools. One of the main topics of discussion concerning the field of students rights and freedoms within the institution is the awareness that any school official has the right to search the students locker without permission or warrant. This issue is highly disputable within the contemporary American society as there are many opponents as well as supporters of the laws that make school teachers obliged to conduct searches and seizures of school student in the moments of the real need. That is why this topic is important for the development of the contemporary society and the improvement of the legal system within the sphere of national education.
The legal system employs concrete standards associated with search and seizure. There also exist certain exceptions connected with the specifications of the legal system in public schools, since common rules of search and seizure may not apply in those cases.
Although the Supreme Court recognizes the high necessity of maintaining order in schools as the key factor for keeping the safety and security of these studying institutions, there are numerous opponents of the laws supporting this strict measure. But the necessity of the law and the potential effectiveness of the outcomes make school teachers able to conduct searches on students and their belongings in the series of moments when there is real necessity. It is necessary to underline the Safford vs. Redding case of search and seizure as the rights of students in that particular case were also violated and the point for a discussion has been put forward in the court. The right to have the guarantee of self-protection that has to be given to all the students is logically followed by the right to conduct the search by the tutor as a means of protection of the common safety and security. The fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution deals with the procedures for police officials to seize the available evidence and protect individuals from unreasonable searches. According to the law proclaimed in the Amendment, police representatives have to obtain a certain warrant before the search and seizure procedure, or the confiscation of the required evidence from the suspect. Moreover, it is essential for the police to represent the viable reason for the search as there have to be concrete reasons supported by the serious basis of facts to have the right to search the individual. According to the United States Constitution, there is close connection between this procedure and the legal basis of the arguments that have to represent the reason for conducting the searching and seizures actions. Therefore, in the Safford vs. Redding case, the school was justified for searching the student, as it is supported by the Constitution, the main Law of the country. And the past events support the evidence of the existing potential risks. Therefore, qualified immunity should exist for school officials to protect students.
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Although safety and security of people studying in public schools is the main priority, there is a series of cases when the searching procedures do not have to take place as there are not enough reasonable arguments. This is the case with the event that happened recently and was highly disputed in the media since it touched the question of the unreasonable search protection of students in schools, especially when it comes to the contents of their mobile phones. The case took place in Mississippi, in the Middle School of Southaven, which exercises strict policy against the usage of cell phones during school hours. In August 2008, a 12-year-old student, Richard Wade, was discovered to be violating the existing school policy after he received a text message from his father, who was travelling out of state, during his football class. The mobile phone of the student has been confiscated and searched by the principal and the Southaven Police Department. The authorities claimed that the content of the phone has been extremely scandalous with the photos of Wade dancing with his friends etc. The student was suspended and later expelled from the institution for having the so-called gang signs stored on his mobile phone. This case perfectly demonstrates the violation of human rights and freedoms of the individual that have been left behind during the process of searching through the students belongings. Football coaches, the schools principal and the representatives of the local police department violated Constitutional rights of the student (Cheng, 2009). Such consequences make the search and seizure practice a really unreasonable execution that does not have to be present within the legal procedure of the reasonable searching within schools.
The reason behind the high level of disputability of the legal system supporting the searching and seizure procedure in public schools is the question of the violation of the rights and freedoms of students during the time when it seems that the police authorities are supporting the safety and security of the rest of people. This issue is supported by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and, therefore, searching students and extracting the necessary evidence is legal in cases when it is reasonable. However, it is extremely important to see the border line and not to provoke the unreasonable violation of human rights of the student, as it can be seen in the case that took place in Mississippi.