How Do You Keep Students Safe Without Infringing Upon Their Constitutional Rights?

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Question: How do you keep students safe without infringing upon their constitutional rights when students attend school sponsored events under the influence of alcohol? One challenge high school administrators are undoubtedly faced with several times a year is students attending school sponsored events under the influence of alcohol. As a school administrator, how do you keep students safe without infringing upon their constitutional rights? There is controversy among school districts, administrators and parents regarding this matter across the United States. An administrator 's primary role is to ensure the safety and well being of all students under their watch. In order to manage this, administrators are often faced with the challenge of establishing and enforcing necessary policies and procedures without violating a student’s constitutional rights. This paper begins with an outline of early Supreme Court cases that laid the foundation regarding student rights while at school. Next, this paper addresses current codes of conduct, parent notification, breathalyzer policies, and the limitations that are placed on administrators when trying to keep students in their school safe. Finally, it outlines several recent cases where parents felt their children 's First and Fourth Amendments were being violated when administrators followed through on predetermined consequences outlined. Background Several Supreme Court cases set the stage when determining where an administrator’s responsibility lies when it comes to managing student safety at school. One landmark case that made it to the Supreme Court and addressed the First Amendment and student voice was Tinker vs. Des Moines , in 1965, when a group of students organized a silent pr... ... middle of paper ... ... school setting. In this case, the vice-principal of a school searched a student 's personal belongings looking for one thing and in the process found evidence that she was dealing marijuana. In Family Court, T.L.O. claimed her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure were violated. When the judge ruled the search was legal, she took her case to the New Jersey State Supreme Court. The State Court ruled that the school had violated T.L.O.’s Fourth Amendment Rights. As a result of this ruling, the State of New Jersey took the case to the Supreme Court which ruled that the school’s search was reasonable and had not violated T.L.O.’s Fourth Amendment rights. Their reasoning was justified based upon the foundational belief that a student 's’ expectation of privacy must be balanced against the needs of school administration to maintain a safe school

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