Street Law, Inc. and The Supreme Court Historical Society present

Landmark Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court

Street Law /

You Decide: Is this a Legal Search?

Directions
  1. Read each situation. Use the information in the excerpt of the majority opinion to help you complete the chart. For further assistance, visit "Ask Sybil Liberty about Your Right to Privacy."
  2. Answer the question, "Is this a legal search?" by placing an "X" in the appropriate space.
  3. Provide a brief explanation for your answer.

Situation
Is this a legal search?

 (Y)       (N)

Explanation
School administrators receive a report that a member of the cheerleading squad is selling drugs. They confront her and tell her they are going to check her locker. Then they do so.
Concerned over recent school shootings, the school board installs metal detectors in all local high schools and requires that all students walk through them in order to enter the building.
After one second grader complains of having lost the $5.00 she got from the tooth fairy, teachers ask all of the students in her class to go into the locker room and remove their clothing so they may be strip-searched.
Administrators receive a tip that members of two rival gangs plan to fight after school and that many of the members have brought knives and other weapons to school. The principal calls the police, who conduct a search of the suspicious students.

Concerned about alcohol use at the school dance, school officials search the vehicles of all students who attend the prom.

After receiving a report that a student has brought a gun to school, the principal and security guard bring the student to the office, frisk him, and ask to search his locker.


For Extension

At Boulder High School in Boulder, Colorado, $60,000 worth of surveillance equipment is able to keep track of students on school grounds, in the halls, and in class. In fact, the principal is able to manipulate the cameras to zoom in on individuals or groups of students.

Is this constitutional? Explain your answer.

< New Jersey v. T.L.O.