As you walk into class, you observe this conversation between your teacher and one of your classmates:
||"You smell like cigarette smoke. Have you been smoking?"|
||"Me? No way… I don't smoke."|
||"I don't believe you. Let me have your backpack. I'm going to call security and have them check it for cigarettes."|
||"You're kidding me, right? I didn't do anything wrong. Plus, they can't search me without a warrant."|
||At this point, a security guard enters the room and approaches the student.|
||"Come with me and bring your backpack. We're going to search it."|
This simulation is based loosely on the events leading up to the Supreme Court case New Jersey v. T.L.O. Read the background information and answer the accompanying questions. Next, make a prediction regarding the outcome of the case. Read the excerpt of the majority opinion and discuss the outcome as a class.
Questions to Consider
- What did you think about the event that just occurred? Was the student treated fairly?
- The student claimed that security can't conduct a search without a warrant. Do you think this is true? Why or why not?
- Do the rules that police must follow regarding searches apply to school officials? Should the same rules apply? Why or why not?