Should your school have the right to search your locker without your permission?

Voting Has Ended

We’ve seen the pictures of drug dogs sniffing the halls of high schools across the country, principals stopping students and telling them to open their lockers, officers searching lockers without a warrant. Can they do that? Supporters of such actions believe that school grounds are public and can be subject to a search at anytime for the safety of the school. Those who disagree say it’s a violation of privacy and that there must be a warrant or permission to search a locker. Should your school have the right to search your locker without permission?

 

Point: Our Turn: Do random locker searches invade privacy?

Counterpoint: No Warrant, No Problem: Students’ Lockers Searched at Random By Drug Dogs

 

Current Standings:
Yes: 75%
No: 25%
  • jennah from Illinois

    The safety of our youth is far more important than making a big deal over “privacy” in lockers at school. A simple search that makes sure students are safe, and lockers are clear of anything dangerous, or risking something bad to happen? In all honesty these random searches are not “Invading privacy” but rather making sure weapons, drugs etc. are not being hidden in lockers and possibly causing problems within the halls of these learning facilities. These searches are not intended to do anything but ensure that these buildings are clean, safe environments that are free of anything harmful. Schools are only for education purposes, although many do not face this realization. Students should know what is allowed, and not allowed at school. Bringing anything that is against the rules is putting themselves at risk of getting into trouble. I wholeheartedly believe that these searches are very effective and needed, especially within public schools. They are keeping students safe and preventing anything dangerous to occur. Despite of the opposing opinion, the safety of students at schools is very influential. Anything that keeps students safe should always overshadow the absurd idea that these searches “violate privacy”.

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    The safety of our youth is far more important than making a big deal over “privacy” in lockers at school. A simple search that makes sure students are…

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    0
  • Jennifer from Georgia

    This is analogous to actions that are taken at airports with TSA checks. If there is suspicion for a substance that is deemed unacceptable for passing through the conveyor belt, the back is due for a search. Yes, it is understood that the belongings are property of the traveler, but measures have to be taken for the safety of travelors and workers in the airport, travelers in near by cities, etc.
    The same measures have to be taken at schools as well. Yes the locker, for that school term, belongs to the student. But if there is suspicion a law may be broken a search should be conducted for the safety of the other students, the reputation of the school, and even for the safety of that student. Sadly lockers cannot go through a conveyor belt to determine if illegal substances are housed there; therefore, searches may occur at random. Also, it may be difficult to determine based on appearance which students may or may not be using substances. If searches did not occur at random there would be a form of prejudice or bias in the searches which would be more unconstitutional in my opinion.

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    This is analogous to actions that are taken at airports with TSA checks. If there is suspicion for a substance that is deemed unacceptable for passing…

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    0
  • Mckay from Arizona

    Public Schools are federal property. Students, if they are doing what they should, will have nothing to fear. Lockers are not personal affects, they are space loaned to students in public schools. Yes people may feel violated but, not everyone can have their way. Locker searches are not to personally attack students, they are a way of keeping them and the faculty safe in public high schools.

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    Public Schools are federal property. Students, if they are doing what they should, will have nothing to fear. Lockers are not personal affects, they a…

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    0
  • Melina from Utah

    I believe that schools have the right to search ones lockers as long as they have probable cause. A locker search is a form of public safety, its a way schools keep the kids safe from drugs ad weapons especially if they receive a tip that a child has brought a weapon to school but they give no name.

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    I believe that schools have the right to search ones lockers as long as they have probable cause. A locker search is a form of public safety, its a wa…

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    0
  • Abigail from Alabama

    I vote Yes to this statement because at the beginning of every school year The students here at a local school are issued a “Student Code of Conduct” booklet and are required to have them signed and returned. Stated inside of that booklet under “Search and seizure” States that …”desks, lockers, and other equipment may also be entered and searched by school officials whenever said officials have reasonable belief that a certain some substance or material in contained therein which is illegal or harmful to the safety of other students..”. With that statement given I believe, with a valid reason, It is okay for school officials to search things such as lockers, vehicles, or backpacks.

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    I vote Yes to this statement because at the beginning of every school year The students here at a local school are issued a “Student Code of Conduct” …

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    0
  • Nathaniel from South Dakota

    Its a public are owned by the government. If you’re not doing anything wrong, then there should be no problem….

    0
  • Amanda from South Dakota

    yes, To make sure no one gets in trouble on have drugs or any other bad things in the locker

    0
  • Tanna from South Dakota

    I believe they should be able to, because it’s possible for the school to be under threat. If we didn’t have the right to search than it could cause a lot of chaos.

    0
  • Troy from South Dakota

    Yes because if someone has drugs or a bomb in their locker the cops should be able to take it without getting a search warrant. It would be safer for the schools if cops could look into lockers whenever they wanted to.

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    Yes because if someone has drugs or a bomb in their locker the cops should be able to take it without getting a search warrant. It would be safer for …

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    0
    • Ms. from South Dakota

      Well written response!

      0
  • Kaleb from South Dakota

    Yes, because while it is the assigned locker the school has ever so kindly given to you. You did not purchase this locker, which doesn’t really make it yours. Was anything ever really ours’ though? They tell us to take a seat, but we never leave with it. Free samples disappear through the digestive system in a matter of hours which make it as if we never got the sample in the first place. Searching backpacks, clothing, etc. is a totally different story because you own them yourself and could be argued as invasion of personal property. In conclusion, if you are that paranoid or have something to hide don’t bring it. People being stupid is what got Harambe killed.

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    Yes, because while it is the assigned locker the school has ever so kindly given to you. You did not purchase this locker, which doesn’t really make i…

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    0
  • Hannah from South Dakota

    I think that they should be able to search your locker because it is the school property.

    0
  • Devin from South Dakota

    Within retrospect, I would have to say yes. All things considered, we as students and staff do not own the lockers that are assigned to us. The school owns it to be exact, so if we happen to have something that is illegal, or can cause harm to staff and students, then yes we should have our lockers searched. If there is to be a reason for it to be searched. if you really want your privacy respected, then have search dogs come in. That way, your locker is only searched if they have a reason to do so.

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    Within retrospect, I would have to say yes. All things considered, we as students and staff do not own the lockers that are assigned to us. The school…

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    0
  • Cassie from South Dakota

    Yes because the school is responsible for the lives of all the students in their building. So if one student in particular has something in their locker that could put everyone else in danger had the potential to be found before any harm was done then the students wouldn’t be in danger.

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    Yes because the school is responsible for the lives of all the students in their building. So if one student in particular has something in their lock…

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    0
    • Ms. from South Dakota

      Good point Cassie!

      0
  • dylan from South Dakota

    It school ground and it school property

    0
  • Sara from Missouri

    Due to schools being of public use and the ratification of the Safe Schools Act nothing kept inside the school is considered to be private. While the fourth amendment may say you have to have a warrant to search and seize, it does not apply to buildings, parks, or roads used by the public. So whether we like it or not, our lockers are not “ours” and are not private. It is 100% legal for them to be searched because of the school being public.

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    Due to schools being of public use and the ratification of the Safe Schools Act nothing kept inside the school is considered to be private. While the …

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    0
  • kaiya from New York

    to help the safety of schools I believe the schools should have the
    right

    0
  • Micah from Colorado

    It’s a matter of safety. If your locker has nothing illegal in it, then there’s no problem except for the minor annoyance of some officers rummaging in your stuff. If someone was to bring drugs, bombs, ect, ect then It could potentially put everyone else in danger.

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    It’s a matter of safety. If your locker has nothing illegal in it, then there’s no problem except for the minor annoyance of some officers rummaging i…

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    0
  • Terri from Colorado

    School Lockers uphold the sole purpose of holding possessions and protecting them from theft; therefore, if the institution feels that people at that school are in danger, they have not only a right, but an obligation to investigate that danger, even if that means searching lockers.

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    School Lockers uphold the sole purpose of holding possessions and protecting them from theft; therefore, if the institution feels that people at that …

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    0
  • Sydney from North Carolina

    I believe that schools should be able to check lockers without permission because of three reasons. The first reason school lockers should be searched is because of safety reasons and if anyone feels that something is unsafe in the locker than searching it with permission or not is number 1 to ensure everyone in the school is safe. The second reason is because school is public property, the locker belongs to the school and it is a privilege for any student to use the locker we are only “temporary” owners and if a school official needs something that’s in your locker they should be able to retrieve it whenever they need too. The third reason I believe lockers should be searched without permission is because I honestly don’t believe school officials are going through lockers if it’s not a serious matter, so to ensure the safety of everyone; lockers should be searched whether authorized by the “temporary” owner or not.

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    I believe that schools should be able to check lockers without permission because of three reasons. The first reason school lockers should be searched…

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    0
  • Brianna from Missouri

    Those opposing may state the fourth amendment protects their right to not have a locker searched without a warrant. However, this applies to private personal property. This is not the case with a locker assigned to you by a school, The locker is the property of the school. You do not buy or rent the locker. Furthermore, A school locker is not a place for someone to store private property. It is a place to store school books or a jacket. The only people who should truly be worried are the criminals that disrupt a peaceful learning environment.

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    Those opposing may state the fourth amendment protects their right to not have a locker searched without a warrant. However, this applies to private p…

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    0
  • Anne from New York

    Your locker is not your private property, it is the schools.

    0
  • Amy from Georgia

    Its the school’s property and you rent it for a small fee. Your backpack is another story however. And if i was at a school that had a drug problem that bad as to need drug sniffing dogs i would change schools. Also those dogs are well trained I believe that there are laws in which they can check your stuff on a positive read form the dog alone and it will be legal evidence in court.

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    Its the school’s property and you rent it for a small fee. Your backpack is another story however. And if i was at a school that had a drug problem th…

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    0
  • Robert from California

    It isn’t your private property.

    0
  • Ethan from Colorado

    Yes, the school has the right to search your locker. However, HOWEVER, it must comply with reasonable search and seizure precedents in the United States. Another key factor is of course the Fourth Amendment (“..right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause..”) However, the current precedent set by NJ vs T.L.O addresses the rights of the student under the Constitution but ultimately deciding that as long as a search of a student’s belongings is under reasonable suspicion (an informant, the observation of wrongdoing by school admin, or a “sniffer” dog all qualify) then it is Constitutional in scope. Lastly, the locker issued to you isn’t yours… it is the schools. What does belong to you is your belongings and your personal body. However, this does not mean the admin. can just rely on a “hunch” and so to ensure that your privacy (your locker or belongings) and safety of others or self is guaranteed the NJ vs. T.L.O. precedent and national procedures must be followed in order to ensure the security of the school.

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    Yes, the school has the right to search your locker. However, HOWEVER, it must comply with reasonable search and seizure precedents in the United Stat…

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    0
  • Clara from Wisconsin

    School property is school property. Lockers should be viewed and respected as such. The things a student stores in a locker on school property should follow the rules of the school. In order to ensure that students are obeying the rules of the school, it is important for the school to have the ability to search a student’s locker to ensure that students are cognizant of their responsibility.

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    School property is school property. Lockers should be viewed and respected as such. The things a student stores in a locker on school property should …

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    0
  • Carter from North Carolina

    The locker is the school’s property, they have the right to search it, especially since it is for the well being of the students and teachers.

    0
  • Nickolas from Pennsylvania

    Well as it is on school property, the locker itself is a piece of school property. Therefore, they have the right to search their property. You (as a student) do not have any rights over their property.
    However, once it is opened, they cannot go into your backpack or anywhere that is concealed without plausible cause (drug dogs, tip-offs, other forms of illegal items previously found, etc.),

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    Well as it is on school property, the locker itself is a piece of school property. Therefore, they have the right to search their property. You (as a …

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    0
  • randy from Texas

    Lockers are property of the school and thus they should have the right to search your locker. Why should they go through a process to search if there are illegal things happening?

    0
  • Rebecca from Idaho

    Schools should be able to search student’s lockers. As long as they do it for good reason and with probable cause. If they have reason to believe that a student is harboring drugs or other illegal substances, they should have the right to investigate. In my eyes, it is for the safety of the staff and the rest of the students.

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    Schools should be able to search student’s lockers. As long as they do it for good reason and with probable cause. If they have reason to believe that…

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    0
  • Celine from Florida

    Yes, my school should have the right to search my locker without my permission if they have probable cause. For example, if the school suspected that my locker was hiding some sort of contraband, then they should have the right to go ahead and search my locker. The same applies if they were conducting a school wide sweep for whatever reason. What would be unreasonable is if the school went ahead and confiscated items from my locker with no good reason. The locker may be school property but because I am using the locker to store my personal things, I also expect to be guaranteed a certain degree of privacy within reason.

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    Yes, my school should have the right to search my locker without my permission if they have probable cause. For example, if the school suspected that …

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    0
  • Caleshia from Georgia

    Lockers are school property even if you’re paying for them, therefore the school has the right to search them. Furthermore, if it is suspected that a student is breaking school conduct rules or has anything in the locker that can be used to harm others the school has every right to search without a warrant.

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    Lockers are school property even if you’re paying for them, therefore the school has the right to search them. Furthermore, if it is suspected that a …

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    0
  • Rachel from Florida

    Despite the importance of the privacy of all United States citizens, schools do have the legal right to search student lockers. Schools are environments filled with children, and their safety is of the utmost importance. If a school’s administration has a reason to believe that a student has something in their locker that could be used to cause harm to themselves or others, they should be able to open the locker for the safety of everyone at the school. A legal doctrine called in loco parentis exists, under which according to the Legal Dictionary, “an individual assumes parental rights, duties, and obligations without going through the formalities of legal Adoption.” Schools assume in loco parentis during the school day and thus, assume the parental right of keeping their schools safe by conducting searches when reasonable suspicion exists. Many recent lawsuits brought up by parents against schools due to the expulsion of their children (who came to school with a ‘potentially dangerous’ object) were dismissed by courts, which asserted the school’s rights to do everything in their power to keep students safe.

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    Despite the importance of the privacy of all United States citizens, schools do have the legal right to search student lockers. Schools are environme…

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    0
  • Bridget from Illinois

    If police had to get warrants for searching public property, many more criminals would be roaming free. Personally, I think that most of the complaints against compulsory searches are from the students worried the drug-sniffing dogs are going to find their weed stash.

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    If police had to get warrants for searching public property, many more criminals would be roaming free. Personally, I think that most of the complaint…

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    0
  • Mahalee from Wyoming

    Lockers are school property. Principals have the right to search them, even without a warrant or reasonable suspicion. They do it in order to make sure schools are safe. I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t want that? You are simply using their property for a certain amount of time. It is not yours.

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    Lockers are school property. Principals have the right to search them, even without a warrant or reasonable suspicion. They do it in order to make sur…

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    0
  • Joseph from Virginia

    Private school, or public school, either have the right to look into their own lockers in suspicion, for any reason. The lockers are not private property nor personal property, and those who store personal belongings other than school essentials, are at risk of having their things confiscated or searched.

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    Private school, or public school, either have the right to look into their own lockers in suspicion, for any reason. The lockers are not private prope…

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    0
  • tyler from South Dakota

    Yes because we don’t have the rights in school and lockers are not our property even though we pay taxes its run by the government, now if the question your backpack or personal clothing i would say no because its personal property and does not belong to them they should have a search warrant for that.

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    Yes because we don’t have the rights in school and lockers are not our property even though we pay taxes its run by the government, now if the questio…

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    -1
  • Jordan from South Dakota

    This is for the safety of the schools. If you don’t have anything bad in your locker, than there is no problem. My second point being that according to the Fourth Amendment right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation. This is just a piece of the amendment, but because schools are government property, they have the right to do this.

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    This is for the safety of the schools. If you don’t have anything bad in your locker, than there is no problem. My second point being that according t…

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    -1
    • Cassie from South Dakota

      Very good I agree completely

      0
  • Austin from South Dakota

    Its school property . Teachers have the right to look in your locker.

    -1
  • Marcial from Texas

    Security in schools should be more important than privacy in schools. It’s better to keep everyone safe from something happening than thinking what they could’ve done after.

    -1
  • john from South Dakota

    no because that’s violating our 4th amendment rights we shall not be violated its our right to have our property confidential to others without probable cause and even then they shall need a search warrant to do so.

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    no because that’s violating our 4th amendment rights we shall not be violated its our right to have our property confidential to others without probab…

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    1
  • Hayes from Maryland

    “The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly …”

    Papers and effects: Goods, movables, personal property.
    Probable cause: Reasonable grounds (for making a search, pressing a charge, etc.).

    Private property is not something that can be unreasonably searched. Goods and movables also cannot be, regardless of where they are, unless a warrant or probable cause is obtained. If students notify the teacher that “so an so” has a gun or drugs in their locker, then probable cause is justified.

    Movables?? Movables are what you put in your backpack that are owned by you. Would you feel comfortable if some lifeguard at the public pool searched everyone’s bags and luggage just because they think someone has a gun, and then there not be anything at all? It violates our fourth amendment, no matter how much you think it will protect our safety short term, it will undermine our rights.

    The 4th amendment doesn’t say “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches unless in public property, then you can look at everything. Even just the act of unreasonably opening a locker violates the students’ rights as a fully-fledged citizen of the United States of America. Pretending otherwise undermines the constitution and lessens the freedom of the student.

    It already sucks enough that we have to go to school, devote our lives to studying (Under Law) so why aren’t we allowed protection against unreasonable searches and seizures? unless there is a precedent against the student or reasonable suspicion, you cannot and must not violate the constitution by searching and taking things that are the student’s personal belongings, regardless of where it is.

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    “The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, agains…

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    1
  • Edgardo from Massachusetts

    unless there is probable cause

    0
  • johnny from South Dakota

    I don’t know really it could help then again it is a personal place that’s why theirs not see through doors on it some students have to have special need thing in the lockers and don’t want other people to know about it because it could be embarrassing then it could help if someone has a gun or drugs on the campus

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    I don’t know really it could help then again it is a personal place that’s why theirs not see through doors on it some students have to have special n…

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    0
  • Rosie from California

    Public schools belong to everyone, not the students, not the teachers, not the administration, or the Principal. Schools are somewhat like a business, your desk, your computer, and your telephone all belong to the business. Transparency, is best for everyone involved especially when safety is concerned.

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    Public schools belong to everyone, not the students, not the teachers, not the administration, or the Principal. Schools are somewhat like a business…

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    0
  • daniela from Texas

    A locker is meant to hold your personal belongings. whether its books, your lunch, etc., they should not be able to see what is in there. they willingly let you borrow a locker to hold whatever you want so I do not see a reason as to why they should invade your privacy.

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    A locker is meant to hold your personal belongings. whether its books, your lunch, etc., they should not be able to see what is in there. they willing…

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    0
  • Aaron from Wisconsin

    This has been a question for a very long time, and locker specific legal tests are few and far in between. I am a students rights activist (and expert) and I can say, when, in the past I have defended students on the basis of lockers, this is the argument I have used: New Jersey v. TLO was clear, and the school has a right to search personal property if and only if they either acquire a search warrant, or offer reasonable suspicion that there is contraband or on the personal property. As students, our parents, and thereby we, pay tuition, and usually a locker rental fee. This is a legal agreement, and if the school requires that students stow personal items in said locker, then they can’t search it except pursuant to New Jersey v. TLO and associated cases, unless they have the legal backing. You are renting the property from the school district. This is the same as renting a house from a landlord, and similarly, they cannot come bursting in and search what is, for all intents and purposes YOUR PROPERTY, without cause.

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    This has been a question for a very long time, and locker specific legal tests are few and far in between. I am a students rights activist (and expert…

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    0
  • John from Indiana

    It is your locker! There is an expectation of privacy when you have a locker. In order to search your property within the locker, the school needs to have a warrant! There’s this thing called the 4th amendment!

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    It is your locker! There is an expectation of privacy when you have a locker. In order to search your property within the locker, the school needs to …

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    0
  • Norma Jo from South Dakota

    I think they shouldn’t be able to go threw your personal belongings.

    -1