A Legal Strip Search Of Students

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feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Can your kid’s school strip search him? You might be surprised.

A high school in Quebec came under fire after 28 students who were taking a math test were strip searched by teachers. Makes you wonder what they were measuring.

The Canadian teacher was looking for a cell phone that had gone missing from her desk.

In the United States, the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution prevents unreasonable searches and seizures. The Supreme Court has said that a search by a public school must not be “excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction.” Private schools have much more freedom to search as they see fit.

In an age in which school shootings are an unfortunate occurrence and drugs on high school grounds are common, no court has said that schools are prohibited from searching students – even strip searching students – particularly in cases that involve the suspicion of weapons, explosives, or contraband on the school grounds.

If you look at your school district’s policy, it will likely contain an explanation of when and how it will conduct searches.

As for the Canadian high school that conducted a strip search after a math exam to find a cell phone, the facts simply don’t add up under American Constitutional law to find that such a search would be considered reasonable.

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