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New Jersey v. T.L.O
TLO, or Terry, was a 14 year old high school student in Piscataway High School, New Jersey. She was caught smoking in the school bathroom by a teacher. The teacher saw rolling papers near Terry's purse, which rose her suspicions that she might have marijuana. So, the teacher checked her purse and discovered more cigarettes, rolling paper, and marijuana.
Let me search your purse!
The police were called immediately, and Terry admitted to selling drugs at school. She went to trial and was put on probation.
Terry appealed her conviction and took it to the Supreme Court, claiming that the teacher has violated her Fourth Amendment rights, which says that she should be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures.
i have my rights!
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the school. They believed that even though students have the right of privacy, if there is any suspicion or action that indicates that a person is risking the safe environment of a school, they are allowed to search them (with a legitimate suspicion). The teacher had a good suspicion for searching Terry's bag; there was rolling paper next to her cigarettes.
The Supreme Court rules in favor of the school.
Schools want to ensure that all students are safe and learning in a clean place, so they do checks to make sure that it is that way. This case gave the right for schools to search a student's property as long as they have a reasonable suspicion. There are also suspicion-less searches, where there doesn't have to be a reason, for it is to ensure the safety of the school and the students.
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