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Why kids have no expectation of privacy at school

Kids may think that their lockers at school are their private property, but they aren't. They belong to the school. Courts have ruled that when they are in school, young people can't reasonably expect privacy. Therefore, it's not a violation of their constitutional rights to subject them to random searches. The same is true even for students' backpacks.

Two-legged law enforcement officers may not always be able to sniff out drugs, but four-legged K-9 officers often can. Courts have ruled that law enforcement has the right to use these highly-trained animals without a search warrant in areas where people have no reasonable expectation of privacy. That includes instances where a public school requested that a K-9 officer conduct a random drug search.

The constitutionality of these unannounced searches in schools, both by police officers and members of K-9 units, is still the subject of court challenges. At question, in particular, is whether they violate students' Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

It's essential that parents make sure that their kids realize that if they have drugs, weapons or other illegal or stolen item in their possession at school, they may end up in serious legal jeopardy. Even though they would likely face charges as a juvenile rather than as an adult, these charges (and potential convictions) could impact their ability to get into the college of their choice and/or to obtain scholarships.

If your child is charged with a crime based on something discovered amidst his or her belongings at school, it's essential to seek experienced legal guidance as soon as is reasonably possible.

Source: FindLaw, "Using Drug-Sniffing Dogs and Canine Units," accessed Dec. 01, 2017

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