What was the supreme courts decision on the New Jersey V.S. T.L.O. case?

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    Students have a 4th Amendment Right to Privacy:

    The specific question upon which the Supreme Court granted certiori was, "Whether the Fourth Amendment's exclusionary rule applies to searches made by public school officials and teachers in school."

    The exclusionary rule comes to us from the Supreme Court decision in Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States. It says that when evidence comes from an illegal source, it must be excluded as the "fruit of a poisonous tree." If it is illegal to search a student under the 4th Amendment, then the evidence must be excluded.

    This is somewhat modified by the school interest in maintaining discipline and safety. Before a student may be searched, the school must have the equivalent of reasonable suspicion. The student at issue was smoking and was caught in the act. This was the equivalent of reasonable suspicion, because she was observed in the act of violating school discipline. When she was searched, she was found to be in possession of marijuana.

    The rule of law is: the student's privacy interest must be balanced against the school's interest in maintaining order and discipline. Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures applies to searches conducted by public school officials, and in this case, the search of the student's purse was reasonable.

    The issue was not whether a student may be searched, it was whether they may be afforded the same 4th amendment protections as adults.

    Source(s): 3L
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