In the 2002 case of Board of Education of Pottawatomie County v. Earls, the Supreme Court upheld a public school district’s policy of giving drug-tests to students involved in extra curricular activities. Its ruling expanded the power of schools to search students.
Less than 10 years earlier in Vernonia v. Acton (1995) the Court had held that schools could drug test student-athletes.
The Court did seem to draw a line in terms of the limits school officials’ power to search students in Safford Unified School District #1 v. Redding (2009), a case where a school’s strip search of a 13-year old girl suspected of having ibuprofen tablets in her underwear was found unconstitutional. The Court held that this type of search was “categorically distinct” from other anti-drug efforts.
Please write a blog post of at least 500 words that answers this question:
Does the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution permit schools to search a student’s phone (iPod, Android, Blackberry, etc.) if they suspect the student was communicating with another student about selling drugs?
In your answer, please focus on these three topics:
- What do you think of the Court’s interpretation of the Fourth Amendment and the rights of public school students?
- What kind of school actions intended to prevent or discover drug use, if any, are consistent with the Fourth Amendment?
- Is there a difference between searching a student’s backpack, and searching a student’s phone?