A teacher found 14 year old TLO smoking in a school bathroom. TLO was taken to the Assistant Principal’s office. TLO denied she had been smoking. The Assistant Principal then searched her purse. Found- cigarettes and drug paraphernalia. Parents said the search violated her 4 th amendment rights because they did not have a warrant.
4 th amendment applies to school officials, but that the search of TLO was reasonable. School officials do not have to meet the same standards as police officers when conducting searches. Police officers need “probable cause” and school officials need the lesser standard of “reasonable suspicion.”
Became a precedent for future students rights cases (Bethel v. Frasier). “reaffirmed that the constitutional rights of students in public school are not automatically coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings. Decision was used in cases to allow the use of metal detectors and protective searches in schools. Court has linked such searches with airport scanning and highway checkpoints for drunk drivers.
The case was brought by the Jewish families of public school students in New Hyde Park, NY who complained that the voluntary prayer written by the state board of regents to "Almighty God" contradicted their religious beliefs. The Board of Regents for the State of New York authorized a short, voluntary prayer for recitation at the start of each school day. It read as follows: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and beg Thy blessings upon us, our teachers, and our country Does the reading of a nondenominational prayer at the start of the school day violate the "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment?
1 st Amendment – Freedom of religion. State regents prayer. Decision: Public schools cannot encourage prayer. Impact: Separation of church and state.
An official investigation led to the discovery that high school athletes in the Vernonia School District participated in illicit drug use. the school district offered special classes, speakers, and presentations to the students intended to deter drug use. It brought in a specially trained dog to detect drugs, but the drug problem continued unabated. After inviting comments from the parents of the district's students, the district adopted a drug testing plan. School officials were concerned that drug use increases the risk of sports-related injury. The Vernonia School District of Oregon adopted the Student Athlete Drug Policy which authorizes random urinalysis drug testing of its student athletes. James Acton, a student, was denied participation in his school's football program when he and his parents refused to consent to the testing.
4 th Amendment – search and seizure – mandatory drug testing of athletes Decision: Legalized drug testing in schools Impact: testing athletes randomly for drug use is not an illegal search.
At a school assembly of approximately 600 high school students, Matthew Fraser made a speech nominating a fellow student for elective office. In his speech, Fraser used what some observers believed was a graphic sexual metaphor to promote the candidacy of his friend. As part of its disciplinary code, Bethel High School enforced a rule prohibiting conduct which "substantially interferes with the educational process... including the use of obscene, profane language or gestures." Fraser was suspended from school for two days.
Fraser was suspended from school for three days as a result, was prohibited from speaking at his graduation ceremony, and his name was stricken from the ballot used to elect three graduation speakers. Fraser nonetheless was selected by a write-in vote which placed him second overall among the top three finishers, although Bethel High School administrators refused to accept the write-in vote as a valid result, and continued to deny Fraser the opportunity to speak at graduation. Does the First Amendment prevent a school district from disciplining a high school student for giving a lewd speech at a high school assembly?
1 st Amendment – speech. Inappropriate speech nominating a friend for student council. Decision: Freedom of speech restricted in public school. Impact: Cannot use speech that is inappropriate, profane or could cause harm to others.
Heath Watkins robbed a liquor store in Avondale, Missouri and fatally stabbed a 27 year old mother of 2. He was convicted of the murder – Heath asked for and received the death penalty. Heath then changed his mind – his lawyers claim that executing a juvenile is “cruel and unusual punishment.
8 th amendment – Cruel and unusual punishment Decision: Need to establish a minimum age for the death penalty. Impact: Court needs to establish a national minimum age for the death penalty.
In 1965 John, his sister Mary, and a friend wore black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War They were sent home due to a school policy that permitted students to wear several political symbols, but armbands were excluded. The fathers sued – the District court stated that it did not violate the Constitution.
1 st Amendment – freedom of speech Decision: Court rules that this form of expression was protected by the first amendment. Impact: Within a year of the decision, dress codes began to relax, administrators began to allow more freedom in school newspapers.
A school’s journalism class wrote and edited the school newspaper as part of the curriculum. The principal objected to a story on teen pregnancy because he believed that the students could easily be identified. He also objected a story on divorce because the parents did not have the opportunity to respond to the story. When the students received the paper, 2 pages were missing from the paper. The students in the journalism class felt that their rights had been violated.
1 st Amendment Rights – freedom of speech had been violated. Decision: Educators are entitled to exercise control over student expression. Student’s first amendment rights are not exactly the same as adults in other settings. Impact: Censorship in school sponsored publications.
The Island Trees Union Free school district board of Ed ordered certain books to be removed from the reading list. The board stated that they were “anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, and just plain filthy.” A total of nine books were removed, including Slaughterhouse Five Issue: Whether school officials can, consistent with the First Amendment, remove books from a school library because they find the books inappropriate or objectionable
1 st Amendment – students believed it violated their rights to free speech. Decision: There was no majority – they could not agree that a school board can ban books Impact: Districts can not remove books because they don’t like the content.