New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985)
Issue: Privacy Rights at School
Bottom Line: Your Belongings Can Be Searched, But Not Arbitrarily
T.L.O. (Terry), a 14-year-old freshman named “Terry” at Piscataway High School in New Jersey, was caught smoking in a school bathroom by a teacher. The principal questioned her and asked to see her purse. Inside was a pack of cigarettes, and a illegal drugs. The police were called and “Terry” admitted selling drugs at school.
Her case went to trial and she was found guilty of possession of illegal drugs and placed on probation. Terry appealed (fought) her conviction (being guilty), claiming that the search of her purse violated her Fourth Amendment protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures” of property.
Based upon what you learned about the 4th amendment (search and seizure). Do you believe the school (principal) had the right to search the students property and bag? Explain why your thinking.