Back to school means back to the store for supplies, new shoes, and other necessities. This time of year is also when vacations start to wind down and parents head back to work while they send their kids off to school. It can be an exciting time of the year, but also one that causes some anxiety. With the increase in violence at schools in recent years, administration and other officials have adopted new policies and procedures to ensure the safety of all students while on campus. For some though, these rules seem intrusive, and maybe even a violation of their privacy.

One area of concern is the ability of the school staff to conduct a search of your child’s backpack or other bags. In this regard, there is a case that helps clarify the circumstances under which a search can take place at school. Two important search and seizure rules, especially in the setting of a school or other location where minors are present, are as follows:

  • The privacy interest of the student are weighed against the need for safety of all students as well as that of the staff and others on the school grounds. In some instances, the need for safety is greater than the need to preserve an individual’s privacy. When that is the case, any search will be considered lawful and thus any evidence found could be used in a case against your child.
  • Searches may not be conducted based on information that is discriminatory in nature, such as targeting a certain race or gender. But, when the description of a possible suspect is narrow in its content and includes a good sampling of individuals fitting the description, the search is not considered discrimination.

The key is reasonableness, and if the Court finds that the circumstances reasonably warranted the search, anything found might be taken and used as evidence. If you have a loved one going back to school, be sure to go over general safety rules with them so they know what to expect. And, if you have a child that has been the subject of a search and criminal charges resulted based on what was found, call our office for help. We will review the facts of the case to make sure the law was followed, and develop a defense strategy that fits those facts.

For help defending criminal charges, call our office to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. We help people charged with all sorts of crimes in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Call today to schedule an appointment.