The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

I believe all schools should perform backpack and locker checks.

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/18/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 16,332 times Debate No: 14844
Debate Rounds (1)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)




I believe that schools should perform both backpack and locker checks.

Imagine seeing an emotionally distressed child walk into a school with a gun. He gets into a fight with the school teacher. He takes out his weapon and begins shooting at people he hates. The school begins to panic, and people get shot by the perpetrator. This situation may have been prevented if schools had stricter security. I believe that school should inspect backpacks and lockers daily to protect students against weapons of violence.

The reason why I think we should have backpack and locker searches daily is because of the number of people who bring guns to school each year. "The National School Boards Association estimates that more than 135,000 guns are brought into U.S. schools each day. (NSBA, 1993).[1]"

There are approximately 73 million children in the United States of America, which means around 1 in every 540 kids bring a gun to school each day. Not only are weapons brought to school, but they are also used there. "Between 1994 and 1999, there were 220 school associated violent events resulting in 253 deaths – 74.5% of these involved firearms. Handguns caused almost 60% of these deaths." [1] 60% of 253 deaths are approximately 151-152 people. Basically 152 people died from gun related events in school in this period of time. Since 1999, other major incidents have happened resulting in a growing number of deaths in school.

Look at Columbine High School near Denver, Colorado. Two young teens in high school brought in 4 weapons which were illegal in Colorado. They were able to bring them in and hide them for 2 hours before shooting. Fifteen students and teachers died, 9 additional students were injured, and the two who did the shooting committed suicide. If there had been backpack checks, they would have found the weapons, and then all lives would have been saved.[2]

Gardena High School, in Los Angeles Unified Schools, recently January 2011, had two students shot because another student brought in a gun in his backpack. It discharged when he threw it onto the table. In Gardena High School they have a policy of random searches of backpack with metal detecting wands, but had not been following their own policies. Gardena's events proved that random searches are not enough to prevent weapons coming onto campus. [3]

How could inspecting backpacks and lockers work? Schools could have staff or security personnel at each entrances checking backpacks as students enter both manually, and with metal detector wands. They should also have mandatory "Random Locker Check-Up" days in which they tell you to open lockers and show everything inside. Doing this will decrease the number of people bringing weapons of violence to school.

Some people say personal privacy will be violated if guards check backpacks and lockers. There is probable cause in doing so. Probable Cause is reasonable ground for a belief, as, in a criminal case, that the accused was guilty of the crime, or, in a civil case, that grounds for the action existed. [4] The only times police and security guards are allowed to search your belongings is if you show probable cause. You must be doing something incriminating or hinting towards something incriminating for the police or security reach into your belongings without a search warrant. In Terry V. Ohio 1968, it states that a police officer is allowed to frisk and search someone on the streets without probable cause or reasonable suspicion without violating their Fourth Amendment Rights. [5] (The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.) [6] I feel it's important to have these searches to occur to safeguard children in school. Therefore, we should do what Terry V Ohio says—we are allowed to search belongings without probable cause in order to safeguard our children.

Some people may say that it's illegal for schools to check into students' lockers or backpacks. For example, are police allowed to go up to each woman and open up their purses or go to each businessman and check inside their briefcase to see if they are carrying any weapons? Schools should be able to search backpacks and lockers because are responsible for the safety of students in school, so they should be able to search backpacks to protect all students. We are sent to school to have an education, not to have gun violence.

In conclusion, I believe all schools should begin having locker checks and backpack checks to protect the students from weapons of violence. Remember, there are over 135,000 guns brought into the United States schools each day. I hope one day that all schools will begin having locker checks and backpack checks for the well-being of students in school.



Best of luck to you


I thank my opponent for bringing up such an innovative and controversial topic.
I look forward to a engaging debate.

I will begin by pointing out key terms in the resolution.
While the resolution is "I believe schools should preform both backpack and locker checks"
My opponent has insinuated that this should be a daily occurrence in his opening argument, in which he states "The reason why I think we should have backpack and locker searches DAILY". Plus he has poor phrasing.

The actual resolution should be "The Enforcement of Daily Backpack and Locker Checks Would be Beneficial to the United States."

Therefore, I as con win if I can prove that DAILY backpack and locker searches are more harmful than beneficial.

===Practicality & Ideals===

Pro's argument is a rare case that fails on both counts of practical application and idealism.

Practical: Likely to succeed or be effective in real circumstances; feasible.
Ideal: Conforming to an ultimate standard of perfection or excellence; embodying an ideal.

Pro argues that backpack searches and locker searches should be done daily. My opponent claims this is necessary to PREVENT violence and ensure safety. Con questions the feasibility of such a course of action. My opponent brings out several examples of school violence, however fails to consider all the variables and provide a sensible course of action.

Who does the responsibility of locker searching fall upon? Assuming it takes an average of five minutes to frisk a backpack/locker pair, with your average student faculty ratio of 16:1[1], it would eighty minutes to preform a daily locker/backpack check assuming full staff participation. Pro wants our taxes to pay for a daily, eighty minute checkup of lockers and backpacks. Pro wants to extend school days by eighty minutes to uphold the safety of our children.

Is this truly justifiable?

Even with a separate task force, with over 14,000,000 high school students[2], a daily twenty minute backpack and locker search translates into 3,500,000 unnecessary employees. Which is completely outrageous, really.

While many would appreciate the sentiment, a daily locker and backpack search is just not feasible.

Moreover, Pro must realize that locker and backpack searches are preventative measures. We are not fixing frustrations and violence, we are creating a coping mechanism to deal with teenage violence. We are not fixing the problem, we are simply finding a way to deal with the consequences.

A better solution would be to educate kids on how to deal with violence, not try to prevent violence with brute force. Yet my opponent advocates a eighty minute expenditure to mitigate the consequences of violence, while ignoring the cause.


"we are allowed to search belongings without probable cause in order to safeguard our children."

In Pro's argument, my opponent blatantly misinterprets Terry V Ohio in order to make a point. While Terry V Ohio allows officers to frisk people on the street WITHOUT "probable cause", an officer still needs "reasonable suspicion"[3] to frisk someone. This means that the police cannot go around abusing privacy based on prejudice.

Pro clearly ignores this aspect of Terry V Ohio. Officers cannot and will not ever be able to frisk someone on the street simply because he/she is black. This is the equivalent of my opponent saying that it is okay to frisk students simply because they are young. By implementing locker/backpack searches, Pro is actively encouraging discrimination against youth.


My opponent is proposing that we spend a ridiculous amount of time and money on dealing with the consequences of violence, while ignoring the cause of the problem itself. That money and time is better spent on dealing with issues such as child abuse, gun/drug awareness, and other probable causes of teenage violence.

Con vote.

Pro also either thinks that it is okay to frisk someone just because he/she is a student. Which is really the equivalent of saying that it is okay to frisk someone just because he/she is black.

Con vote.

Thank you.


Debate Round No. 1
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by destiny1997 3 years ago
I think they should scan us and all that I go to a high school were kids get away with pretty much EVERYTHING
and I swere im not lieing AT ALL
Posted by Charr 5 years ago
Votebomber. B(

Click on his profile and see how my opponent begged him to vote.
Posted by travelinman 5 years ago
I go to an alternative school and we are wanded with metal detectors when we walk in, then are bags are searched, we also have random lock searches and class room searches where they wand you again and check your pockets. When they do the random class room/locker searches we are in lock down and they call a code orange, this is also the same code when there is a fight. My school only had 240 students and our searches are conducted by 2 assistant principals and main principal along with 4 cops that bring drug dogs to sniff kids and lockers. This process takes around 40 minutes for my school and this is something that happens ever 2-3 weeks so they know how to do it. It does run into the next class period and is mostly done to find drugs and cell phones, they rarely ever find weapons and drugs are almost never found. The student will just throw the drug, like this one student that dropped his cocaine in the keyboard so the police had to take it from our school. If the dog barks at you and no drugs are found, your parents are informed that you were recognized by the drug dog as smelling as some narcotic and they recommend that they watch you better. All it does is makes us kids notice that if they are mad at someone, they should beat them with fist instead of bringing a weapon, and that if we are chosen to be searched we should throw it and let them call our parents for smelling like drugs. It does not lessen how many kids get arrested weekly for drugs or violence. Our school is constantly getting new people normally 4-7 ever Wednesday because 4-7 are arrested and kicked out for drugs or fighting. So I think it doesn't make much of an impact other then making kid hide their phones in bookbags or cups in the morning(lots of kids put their phone in a mcdonalds cup before entering because they don't wand your hands).
Posted by m93samman 5 years ago
I'm not gonna vote; the resolution says "I believe" at the front of it. That *KINDA* changes things...
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by davidhancock 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: sorry want my rdf message me
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Excellent practical negation.
Vote Placed by RougeFox 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Although I usually don't like one round debate, con won, it wouldn't have been close even if pro could have a chance to defend. Pro's weakened his position even though he didn't have to specify daily locker. However, as a comment to both debaters, please do not extrapolate statistics. Unless you can prove that the methodology of both studies is exactly the same, then don't do it. I give sources to con because of the misinterpretation of Terry vs. Ohio. Clearly, all students are not suspicious.