The Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment

Third and Fourth Amendments

Must school officials have probable cause before searching a student in a public school?

No, the U.S. Supreme Court in New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985) ruled that the probable-cause requirement in public schools was too stringent and would hamper the maintenance of order and discipline in the schools. Instead, the Court articulated a “reasonableness standard,” finding that the search must be justified at its inception and that it must be reasonably related in scope to the circumstances that justified the search in the first place.

New Jersey v. T.L.O. involved a search by an assistant school principal of a student’s purse. The assistant principal originally suspected the juvenile girl of smoking in the bathroom, but later discovered that the girl may be involved in dealing marijuana after searching her entire purse.

When is it okay to conduct a search of private property? Do the police always need a search warrant? (iStock)

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