This article on New Jersey vs. T.L.O starts off by telling the background. Two students are found smoking in the bathroom and are taken to the Vice Principles office; here ones girls purse is searched. When the V. Principle searches the purse he finds more than just cigarettes. The article then talks about how is it necessary for the school to have to get a warrant to go through a student’s purse? The court doesn’t believe that the school and the right in this situation. But the court doesn’t think a warrant is a necessary thing to have to have. By the teacher or principle going through the purse it is just to keep the environment safe.
This article brings up an interesting point. When the vice principle is searching TLO's purse he found the cigarettes first. This is what he was looking for. The article questions to why he kept looking. He did not have a reasonable reason to keep searching the purse. He claims that the reason he kept looking was because he saw a pack of cigarette rolling papers which he thought had to do with marihuana. Thinking it had to do with marihuana... is that enough to search probably the most private thing a girl carries, her purse.
New Jersey v. T. L. O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985), is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States addressing the constitutionality of a search of a public high school student for contraband after she was caught smoking. A subsequent search of her purse revealed drug paraphernalia, marijuana, and documentation of drug sales. She was charged as a juvenile for the drugs and paraphernalia found in the search. She fought the search, claiming it violated her Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling, held that the search was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
On March 17th, 1980, two Piscataway Township High Schoolfreshmen were caught smoking cigarettes in the bathroom. Smoking at the school in itself was not prohibited; however, students were only supposed to smoke in a designated smoking area. The teacher took the two girls to the principal's office, in which they met with the assistant vice principal, Theodore Choplick. Choplick questioned them about violating a school rule by smoking in the bathroom. The first girl admitted to smoking, but the other girl – widely known as Terri Lynn Owens (though name not confirmed, as her rights were protected due to age) – denied smoking in the bathroom and stated she had never smoked in her life.
Choplick then asked TLO into his private office and demanded she hand over her purse. Upon opening the purse he observed a pack of cigarettes; while removing the cigarettes he noticed a package of rolling papers. Based on his experience, the possession of rolling papers of high school students was closely tied to the use of marijuana. Choplick then began a more thorough search for the evidence of drugs. His search revealed a small amount of marijuana, a pipe, empty plastic bags, a large quantity of money in $1 bills, an index card that appeared to list students who owed TLO money, and two letters that implicated TLO in dealing marijuana. The principal then called the police and the girl's mother, who voluntarily drove her to the police station.
This is where all my research started, finding the facts of the case. This gave more detail about the search of the purse. In the purse there were cigarettes, pack of rolling papers, marijuana, a pipe, empty plastic bag, and a large amount of money in ones. There was also an index card that had names of students at the school on it that owed her money for a sale. The mother of the student was called to the school and voluntarily drove her daughter to the police station. The article is use full on the details of the cases background.
This website is awesome! It has the oral arguments of the case. So you can sit here and feel like you were at the case. I have not listened to the whole thing because it is really long. It is interesting though that there is two pieces to listen two the first being the argument then the next is the Re-argument. I’m thinking that that is when the Supreme Court appeals the case.
Once the girl T.L.O admits to having been smoking the New Jersey court declares her probation for a year. The Supreme Court overturns the decision stating the search of the student’s purse had been a violation to her 4th Amendment right. To which the NJ court appealed the case. The argument brought to hand is, do students have same rights under the 4th amendment? The New Jersey court argues that the school employees are like parents they have to right to search the student’s purses. T.L.O argues that teachers are not parents they are employees of the State and do not have the same rights as a parent does.
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