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Individual Rights Blog

Written by olsonaplc-53

School: Sioux Central
Class: Olson:APLC
Grade: 11th

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?

~Is there a difference between searching a student’s backpack, and searching a student’s phone?~

Searching a person’s phone and searching a person’s backpack are two totally different things. A backpack is used for school supplies and things you would need during a school day. A phone is a personal connection to other people that doesn’t have anything to do with school. A phone allows us to communicate about and with out of school people and things. What is on phones is personal.

Hypothetically speaking, if a school let every single person in a school have a phone and it was the schools phone then that is a whole different issue. Just like the school owns our school laptops hypothetically if the school gave everyone a phone then they would have the right to take it, search it, and do just about anything with it because of the fact that it belongs to the school. A backpack should only have school stuff in it. It shouldn’t have anything worth being suspicious over because that isn’t the function of a backpack.

The fourth amendment states; “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” I’m going to break this down a little so its understandable. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects.” This means that people have the right for anything they own or use to be secure to them. “Against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” This means that someone can’t just search your house, possessions, or anything that you own without a reason. “And no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” This just says that no one can make up an issue for a warrant without probable cause, or a good reason. For someone to get a warrant they have to state the reason they need it, why they need it, what they are going to use it for, and where are they going to use it.

The fourth amendment does not permit schools to search a students phone. They could tell the student who is suspected parents. But they don’t have the right to just take someones personal belonging and search through it. Phones aren’t relevant to schools unless hypothetically the school issued out a phone for each student to use. Peoples right and lives shouldn’t be violated by the school because the fourth amendment doesn’t permit schools to search someone’s personal belongings.

BRI

This post has been awarded the
Bill of Rights Institute Badge (300 points)

Harlan Institute Feedback: Excellent post!