Thank you, K.
On this website, I do not always get to give good news, and I am afraid that this is one of these times.
"A school official stands in loco parentis to the student under his authority. In the performance of his duties he must be allowed reasonable bounds for the preservation of order and discipline." State v. Young, 216 SE 2d 586 - Ga: Supreme Court 1975
. In other words, the school is acting "as the parent" while the child is in their care.
Although students are not stripped of their constitutional rights upon entering school, a student does not enjoy the same degree of privacy while on school property that he would enjoy elsewhere. A student's interest in privacy must be balanced against "the substantial interest of teachers and administrators in maintaining discipline in the classroom and on school grounds. Such discipline is necessary to provide students with a safe and secure school environment. Accordingly, the Fourth Amendment permits school officials to search students based upon circumstances which do not rise to the level of probable cause
. The legality of a search of a student depends simply on the reasonableness, under all the circumstances
, of the search. In Georgia, school officials may search "subject only to the most minimal restraints necessary to insure that students are not whimsically stripped of personal privacy and subjected to petty tyranny." Patman v. State, 537 SE 2d 118 - Ga: Court of Appeals 2000
(internal citations omitted). First, is searching her, interrogating her behind closed doors without a witness or the opportunity to call her parents or have an attorney present while doing so LEGAL in the state of GA?
It is legal to interrogate/search without calling a parent, unless there is a police officer present, that which then makes it a criminal
matter and minor/miranda rights
become an issue.
However, the extent
to which the student may be searched is subjective and is based on reasonableness, as explained above. So while the school may search/interrogate and the principal did not violate any rule here, the extent
of the search (cell phone) may have been excessive. As such, this may be cause for relief
- let me know if you need information on this.
I hope this helps and clarifies.
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