The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

In United States public K-12 schools, the probable cause standard ought to apply to searches of stud

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/17/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,573 times Debate No: 96185
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I will be defending the notion that probable cause ought to be implemented in public schools.

Debate Precepts:

  • Round 1-Acceptance

  • Round 2-Case

  • Round 3-Rebuttal

  • Round 4-Defense(No new arguments introduced)

public school- a school supported by government funds

probable cause-reasonable grounds (for making a search, pressing a charge, etc

ought-used to indicate duty or correctness

Definitions provided by Merriam-Webster Dictionary



Hello my view is con- searches

This is the 4th amendment standard used to determine if an officer can conduct a search of a person. The officer must have probable cause to suspect that a crime has occurred, at which point a prior warrant is no longer required to search an individual"s person. For example, if the officer sees blood on the hands of someone during the search for a murderer, then that is probable cause to detain and search that person. Do not get caught up in debating what is and is not probable cause; that is not the issue in this resolution.
Debate Round No. 1


I affirm the following resolution that states Resolved: In United States public K-12 schools, the probable cause standard ought to apply to searches of students.

We offer the following terms:

public school- a school supported by government funds

probable cause-reasonable grounds (for making a search, pressing a charge, etc

ought-used to indicate duty or correctness

C1-The Law

The Fourth Amendment states The 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 describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. This amendment clearly forbids any extent of the govenment's ability to conduct unreasonable seizures. It is absolutely neccisary that the government possess a warrant. If the government is allowed the power to conduct seizures whenever it can, than our government will surely turn into a government similar to Russia. This is a significant disadvantage that con would support. Con is incapable of propounding the notion that students are not citizens. Students are citizens which also conveys the notion that it is indispensible for them to adhere to governmental law. This also entitles students to the same rights as a citizen. One of those rights are the fourth amendment. The burden is on con to prove that constitutional amendments forbade these rights to minors in public schools. It is also absolutely neccisary that Con rebuke Tinker vs Des Moines. Tinker vs Des Moines settled the case on whether rights could apply to minors. Jon F. Tinker set forth the notion that his rights were ebing supressed. Tinker was suspended from school, because he protested the vietnam war. He deemed this to be an abrogation of his rights. Many people would agree with this claim in the status quo. The judges also agreed, and stated that minors are also entitled to the same rights as adults. If the judge agrees with Con's world view, than that would essentially be claiming that the judge agrees with abrogating the work our founding fathers risked their lives for. This would abrogate the notion that there could be a country where free people would not adhere to the precepts established by a totalitarian regime.

C2-Advantages of Adherence

A significant portion of the American population also can inquire on what the advantages are to adhering to laws established 200 years ago. After all, slavery was at one point legal in America. But, the horrors of slavery can never be equated to an amendment that deters the notion of a totalatarian regime implemented in America. Is it not true that the ideal for a public school is to bestow the best education possible towards its students? Is it not true that the ideal for a public school is to be set forth each perspective upon life equally. This does not occur. This contention will explicate the various examples in life where teachers will assert precepts a significant portion of our population would depricate.


Last month, students at Friendswood Junior High in Houston were required to attend an Islamic Awareness presentation during class time allotted for physical education. According to the students, they were taught to proclaim "Adam Noah, and Jesus are prophets", and that "There is only one god, and his name is Allah". Parents were not notified by the faculty. It became indispensible for the faculty to write a formal apology due to the abundance of reprimandments from parents.

Earlir this year at Lake Brantley High School in Seminole County, Fla, speakers from the Academy for Learning Islam gave a presentation to students about supposed cultural diversity that essentialy explicated the Quran. After an abundancy of reprimandments from the parents and subsequent investigation, the school distric apologized for the inappropriate presentation, admitting that it violated the law. The school made a formal apology, and promised that this would never occur.

As reported by the Cabinet Press, a school project last year at Amherst Middle School transformed "the quiant colonial town of Amherst N.H., into a Saudi Aabian Bedouin tent community." Males and Femals were segregated, and Arabian precepts were being embraced.

According to the Guardian, a profusion of Calofornia counties are being subject to Atheistic concepts.

How is this evidence relivant towards the case? It vindicates the notion that public schools are susceptable to biases when concerning religion and personal views people possess passionate views on. We live in a country where each perspective should be bestowed an equal amount of time. This is what the federal government advocates for. In Con's world, schools would be granted the privledge of removing sacred religious items due to the prospects of the item representing certain complications. Do we really want to live in a world where students are persecuted for what they believe in? Do we really want to live in a world where Athiests deem it unacceptable for your child to have a Bible in his or her possession? Do we really want to live in a world where Muslim administered schools possess the right to confiscate your child's Bible? Do Muslims want to live in a world where there Qurans are confiscated by Christians? Do Athiests want to live in a world where their secular doctrines are confiscated? The fourth amendment was implemented for a reason. This reason still applies to our world right now.




json Shade was a student at the Apple Valley Alternative Learning Center,1"
1. Shade v. City of Farmington, No. CIV. 99-2067, 2001 WL 501197, at *1 (D. Minn. May 9, 2001), aff"d, 309 F.3d 1054 (8th Cir. 2002).
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an alternative high school in Minnesota.2"
2. About Us, District 196 Area Learning Center, (last visited Mar. 1, 2015) [].
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On the way to an off-campus shop class, Shade"s teacher stopped at Burger King so the students could buy breakfast.3"
3. Shade, 2001 WL 501197, at *1.
Back on the bus, Shade had trouble opening the orange juice that he bought to have with his breakfast, so he asked the other students if anyone had something he could use to open it.4"
4. Id.
A nearby student handed Shade his folding knife, which Shade used to open his orange juice before passing it back.5"
5. Id.
Shade"s teacher, who was also driving the bus, saw Shade with the knife in his hand, but did not see the surrounding events.6"
6. Id.
Three police officers, two of whom served as school resource officers (SROs),7"
7. This Chapter uses SRO, school police, school officer, or school liaison officer to refer to any police officer employed in a school, regardless of the particulars of the program.
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were contacted and came to search the bus and the students.8"
8. Shade, 2001 WL 501197, at *1"2.
The knife"s owner admitted to the police that he had a knife and turned it over.9"
9. Id. at *2. The officers proceeded to search all of the students despite the admission. Id.
For his brief use of the knife on the bus, Shade was charged with and pled guilty to felony possession of a dangerous weapon on school property.10"
10. Id.


Policing and Profit
Considering Police Body Cameras
Shade"s story is not particularly unusual. In recent years, the connection between schools and police departments has become ever closer. As a result, not only are children "being treated like criminals in school, but many are being shunted into the criminal justice system as schools have begun to rely heavily upon law enforcement officials to punish students."11"
11. Advancement Project & The Civil Rights Project at Harv. Univ., Opportunities Suspended: The Devastating Consequences of Zero Tolerance and School Discipline 2 (2000) [hereinafter Opportunities Suspended]; see also Catherine Y. Kim, Policing School Discipline, 77 Brook. L. Rev. 861, 862 (2012) ("Today, police officers routinely patrol public school hallways on a full-time basis . . . and school officials refer a growing number of youth to the juvenile and criminal justice systems for school-based misconduct."). Two extreme examples include five high school students getting arrested for felony assault when they accidentally hit their school bus driver while playfully throwing peanuts at each other and a student being incarcerated in a local juvenile detention center for wearing the wrong color socks. Advancement Project et al., Handcuffs on Success: The Extreme School Discipline Crisis in Mississippi Public Schools 3"4 (2013).
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While the Supreme Court has extended limited Fourth Amendment rights to students in public schools, it has yet to acknowledge the rise of heavy-handed policing in schools, the costs of such a system, and how either factor might impact the determination of the scope of students" rights. In trying to follow the Supreme Court"s limited precedent in this context, most courts hold that reasonable suspicion that a student is violating a law or school rule is constitutionally sufficient to search. This is true even if the search involves a police officer, so long as the officer doesn"t initiate the search independently from school officials or a concern for school safety. This Chapter argues that such a standard ignores the current criminalization of student behavior in public schools and allows for discretion that may exacerbate the unequal distribution of the costs of such criminalization. A better standard would require all police officers to have probable cause to believe that a law has been violated before searching students, and would require the same of school officials where the officials are required to report evidence found to law enforcement.

Section A of this Chapter describes the Court"s handling of Fourth Amendment rights in schools and how lower courts have filled the gaps left in the doctrine. Section B reports on the rising criminalization of student behavior in schools, and how that rise has led to increasingly severe outcomes for misbehaving students. Section C explains why the current reasonable suspicion standard for school searches, which is used even when police are closely involved, is doctrinally problematic. Section D evaluates proposed alternate standards for school searches and suggests that all school searches involving the police or school officials obligated to report to police should be subject to a probable cause standard.1. The Supreme Court"s School Search Doctrine. " Until 1985, it was not clear that students had any Fourth Amendment rights in school. Although it was evident that the Fourth Amendment applied to civil authorities,12"
12. See New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325, 335"36 (1985); Burdeau v. McDowell, 256 U.S. 465, 475 (1921) ("The Fourth Amendment["s] . . . protection applies to governmental action.").
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some courts had relied on the common law doctrine of in loco parentis to hold "that school officials are exempt from the dictates of the Fourth Amendment by virtue of the special nature of their authority over schoolchildren."13"
13. T.L.O., 469 U.S. at 336.
The Supreme Court in New Jersey v. T.L.O.14"
14. 469 U.S. 325.
rejected this rationale as "in tension with contemporary reality."15"
15. Id. at 336.
Courts applying the doctrine of in loco parentis had understood school officials to be exercising the parents" power, rather than the state"s,16"
16. See id.
meaning they could "claim the parents" immunity" from the Fourth Amendment.17"
17. Id. at 337.
The Court found that this reasoning conflicted with the reality of laws compelling minors to go to school.18"
18. Id. at 336 ("Today"s public school officials do not merely exercise authority voluntarily conferred on them by individual parents; rather, they act in furtherance of publicly mandated educational and disciplinary policies.").
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That school officials were subject to Fourth Amendment constraints also better aligned with precedent extending some First Amendment and due process protections to studentsThe T.L.O. Court, however, also found that the special concerns of educators justified limiting students" Fourth Amendment protections. In order to "strike the balance between the schoolchild"s legitimate expectations of privacy and the school"s equally legitimate need to maintain an environment in which learning can take place,"20"
20. Id. at 340.
the Court found that school officials could search students without a warrant or probable cause,21"
21. Id. at 340"41. Probable cause "requires a particularized, articulable basis for" suspicion "before a search can be undertaken." Sarah Jane Forman, Countering Criminalization: Toward a Youth Development Approach to School Searches, 14 The Scholar 301, 369 (2011).
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needing instead only reasonable suspicion "that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school."22"
22. T.L.O., 469 U.S. at 342. The Court noted that the scope of the search must also be reasonable, which will be true where "the measures adopted are reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction." Id.
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The Court believed that violence and drugs in schools had led to disorder23"
23. See id. at 339.
and that schools had a corresponding interest in having "freedom to maintain order."24"
24. Id. at 341.
This interest has since become an example of what the court has termed "special needs."25"
25. See id. at 351 (Blackmun, J., concurring in the judgment) ("Only in those exceptional circumstances in which special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable-cause requirement impracticable, is a court entitled to substitute its balancing of interests for that of the Framers."); id. at 353 ("The special need for an immediate response to behavior that threatens either the safety of schoolchildren and teachers or the educational process itself justifies the Court in excepting school searches from the warrant and probable-cause requirement . . . ."); see also Ferguson v. City of Charleston, 532 U.S. 67, 74 n.7 (2001) (noting the Court"s adoption of Justice Blackmun"s terminology).
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Where there are needs other than ordinary law enforcement,26"
26. For some examples of special needs, see Maryland v. King, 133 S. Ct. 1958, 1981 (2013) (Scalia, J., dissenting).
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the Constitution may require less than a warrant supported by probable cause for a search.27"
27. Id. at 1969 (majority opinion). The Court has also allowed exceptions to the warrant requirement where privacy expectations are "diminished" or the intrusion is "minimal." See id. (quoting Illinois v. McArthur, 531 U.S. 326, 330 (2001)).
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If a court finds that there is a special need, its inquiry becomes simply whether the search was reasonable, as determined by weighing the government interest in executing the search against the individual"s legitimate expectation of privacy.28"
28. See id. at 1970.
In Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton,29"
29. 515 U.S. 646 (1995).
the Court explicitly incorporated the special needs test into the public school setting.30"
30. Id. at 653 ("We have found such "special needs" to exist in the public school context.").
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The Court reaffirmed this standard in Board of Education v. Earls.
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