Student searches at school occur frequently. Several cases noted by Darren Chaker demonstrate the wide latitude students may be searched by government without a warrant. Among the most common issues, include random testing of student athletes (Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton (1995) 515 U.S. 646 [132 L.Ed.2nd 564] and those involved in extracurricular activities. (Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v. Earls (2002) 536 U.S. 822 [153 L.Ed.2nd 735].)
Addressing the final prong of the Vernonia analysis, it is not enough that the government merely articulate a real and immediate interest: the proposed scheme must also effectively further that proffered interest. Vernonia, 515 U.S. at 660; see also Edmond, 531 U.S. at 42-43 (overturning a road block for lack of a “close connection” between the group searched and the government’s concern); Chandler, 520 U.S. at 314 (noting the “documented link” in precedents between the tested group and the safety concern at issue); “Recent Cases,” 112 Harv.L.Rev. 713, 716 (1999)(noting that suspicionless drug testing is reasonable under Supreme Court precedent “only to the extent that there is a recognizable correlation between the targeted group and the problem to be addressed”). The Policy here is not responsive to any identified problem of drug use or safety, least of all in the group actually being tested. See Edmond, 531 U.S. at 42 (striking down generalized seizure despite truism that “traffic in illegal narcotics creates social harms of the first magnitude”). A proper governmental drug testing program must focus with some precision on the group for which specific evidence indicates a particularized need. Further, both the need and the efficacy for drug testing athletes in Vernonia grew from the fact that many students mimic the drug-taking behavior of athletes. See Vernonia, 515 U.S. at 663.
Suspicionless drug testing of teachers and administrators is upheld because of the unique role that teachers play in the lives of school children, the in loco parentis obligations imposed upon them, and the fact that by statute (in Tennessee), teachers were charged with securing order such that they were “on the ‘frontline’ of school seScool curity, including drug interdiction.” (Knox County Educ. Ass’n v. Knox County Bd. Of Educ. (6th Cir. 1998) 158 F.3rd 361, 375.)
It also not ucommon to see random metal detector searches of students, without any individualized suspicion, to help in keeping weapons off campuses. (In re Latasha W. (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 1524.) Last, search of a student’s computer based upon information that the graduate student was “hacking into” the school’s e-mail server and had the capability of “threaten(ing) the integrity of campus computer or communication systems.” (United States v. Heckenkamp (9th Cir. 2007) 482 F.3rd 1142.) was also upheld.
School searches are common places and are needed on a case to cases basis given the proper substantiating factors are present.