4th Amendment Issue, School officials think they can authorize warrantless search of student's phones

The school can without a warrant

The policy adopted this week by the Wilson County Board of Education allows phone searches “whenever a school official has reason to believe the search will provide evidence that a student has violated or is violating the law, board policy, the code of student conduct or a school rule,”

Last time I checked the 4th Amendment still applies and board policies, student code of conduct and school rules are not laws.

Stupid to allow them to have phones in school, to begin with.


There are a lot of cases on the subject. Varying from the rights stop at school house steps to allowing for warranties searches for safety reasons.

This one seems to be a blanket authority, with the results of the search able to be used for punishment.

Yes snd there was relatively recent federal case in a Nj school where it involved searching a girl’s purse for cigarettes. The school mostly won.

The question becomes is it right that the school won?

My first reaction is hell no.

But then schools are also allowed to search bags and lockers based on the same criteria. Lockers belong to them, so I guess that is ok. But bags do not.

I’m leaning towards if the phone lacks a screen lock… they can search it. If it does, pound sand.

I think the schools believing the student is engaging in criminal activity want to investigate information that may be on cell phones. They are neither criminal investigators or a law enforcement agency.
(Some) school districts have Resource Officers or a School Police Force, let the professionals do the job.

Get a warrant or better yet, stop allowing kids to bring phones to school where they no doubt use them to share porn, goof off and bully other students.


I agree. Cell phones in school are an unnecessary distraction and cause huge problems.

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Searches related to criminal acts and contraband (weapons, drugs, tobacco/nicotine products, alcohol) that is illegal for the minor to possess and such are something for which probable cause (the standard for a search required by judicial review) can be established and supported. But board policies, student conduct and school policies are another matter. So the kid doesn’t agree with the schools transgender speech code and doesn’t use the board, school, or code of student conduct approved pronoun in a text. Or disagrees with a religious freedom position in these three policy guides.

I barely paid attention to teachers before there were cell phones.

That school is a government organization, correct?

If only we had a consitution. :thinking:


What? Perfectly normal, if you need to get around that pesky document just claim the target isn’t entitled to constitutional protection.


Agreed. I think that is the solution here.

The karen’s will never stand for it.

who needs notes? google your test answers

The real impediment would be teachers no longer being afraid to be filmed by a student with a phone. SO take away the phones and put in a live stream cam. Oh, and tongue in cheek, install seat shockers and a parent can deliver a non-harmful little zap anytime they see their kid acting up. Just kidding, they can wait until he gets home for that.

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Hmm. I hadn’t considered that, and I actually do think that’s a benefit of phones in the classroom.