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The Contender
Pro (for)

Should the Probable Cause Standard be implemented in schools?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/5/2016 Category: Education
Updated: 2 weeks ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 221 times Debate No: 95886
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This will be similar to a PF debate.

Full Resolution: The Probable Cause standard should be implemented into schools.

Rules are as follows.

1. Acceptance only
2. Opening arguments
3. Clash
4. Closing arguments/clash

If you leave, or do not follow the guidelines set above, then you forfeit the debate, and the other side will be voted for.

I could care less if you troll.
No faking evidence. That results in an automatic forfeit.

If there are questions, feel free to comment, and Ill be sure to reply as quickly as possible.

Full Resolution: The Probable Cause standard should be implemented into schools.

Can not wait to debate ya :D



In 1985, New Jersey v. T.L.O., the United States Supreme
Court "held that "school officials may search students when there are reasonable
grounds to suspect the search will turn up evidence that the student violated the
law or school policy."1. This policy was deemed a topic important enough to be heard by the United States Supreme Court when, According to, "The early 1980s saw only a few multi-victim school shootings." Considering that "From the late 1980s to the early 1990s the United States saw a sharp increase in gun and gun violence in the schools." (, the need for a Probable Cause Standard is critical. Of course, gun violence is not the only threat to schools and the people in them. Threats such as drugs and other weapons are a reality in schools across the nation as attested to by students and the media.

Teachers and administrators act "in loco parentis"-in the place of the parent- and have a legal and moral obligation to protect students as well as staff at the school. Opponents of probable cause assert that searches violate students' rights.
This begs the question of when does the right of the individual supersede the right of the masses? I assert that a reasonable search is not a violation of actual or perceived rights. Cases used to debate the definition of what constitutes 'reasonable'since the 1985 decision have helped define the term as well as create a national standard of definition and subsequent practice. For example, according to the educational society ASCD, "An experienced drug counselor's observation of a student who appears distracted and has bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils justifies taking the student's blood pressure and pulse (Bridgman v. New Trier High School District No. 203, 1997)."

Since the highest court in the land has held the right of Probable Cause in schools for teachers and educational staff, the real question is should this right be applied to school security officers? Are security officers school staff or para-police and thereby held to a different legal obligation concerning searches? The answer needs to be that school security officers are also acting 'in loco parentis' and the same rules of probable cause need apply. They are, after all, working collaboratively with teachers and staff to protect all students and adult sat the school and are also paid as employees of the school itself.

In a world with drugs and violence (to others and to one's self), is such a standard even manageable? Yes, it is. And not only is it manageable, it is imperative for the safety of so many.

1- New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325, 339"40 (1985)
Debate Round No. 1


I just wanted to say that the con side did not follow the debate guidelines correctly. So that is one reason you should vote for con. For my opponent, do not post anything for round 5. Say vote pro, and that is all. Ill say the same.
Please copy your round 1 case and put it in round 2.

My Case:

complete quiz 1. for chem.



We negate resolved: In United States public K-12 schools, the probable cause standard ought to apply to searches of students.

Framework: For today’s round we should weigh the safety and wellbeing of students over everything else because the National Education Association says all educators should make an effort to protect the students and provide a safe environment in order for students to grow intellectually. Without safety, students are incapable of learning effectively.

In order to win this debate, the negation should prove that the costs of implementing the resolution outweigh the benefits.

PublicOxford Dictionary,

Of or involved in the affairs of the community, especially in government

Probable CauseThe Law Dictionary

exists where the facts and circumstances within the officer’s knowledge, and of which they have reasonably trustworthy information, are sufficient in themselves to warrant a belief by a man of reasonable caution that a crime is being committed

SearchLegal Dictionary

An inspection carried out under a regulatory or statutory scheme esp. in public or commercial premises and usually to enforce compliance with regulations or laws pertaining to health, safety, or security.”

Contention 1

K-12 students are still minors, therefore they are not considered to be political citizens yet, and their invasion of privacy is minimal.

  • The public school officials are considered part of the local government and are more responsible for the students than the students themselves. Students, until they reach the required statutory age, are required to attend school, and thus lack the freedom to do as they please while school is in session. It is acknowledged that students, as minors in a compulsory educational system, do not and cannot enjoy the same constitutional rights as their older counterparts. In Benjamin Tiller’s Law Review of the Fourth Amendment Rights for Students, it states how ” The dissent concluded that school resource officers may search students “so long as it is related to school policy and not merely a subterfuge for unrelated law enforcement activities.”

In New Jersey v. TLO

  • Writing for the majority, Justice Byron White began by noting that public schools are institutions operated by the government. Therefore, public school students retain their Fourth Amendment rights
  • On the one hand, he wrote, “schoolchildren have legitimate expectations of privacy.” On the other hand, schools have an “equally legitimate need to maintain an environment in which learning can take place.

Contention 2

Extending probable cause place students at substantial risk

Subpoint 1: Forcing probable cause can result in harmful activities to esc


  1. According to ASCD, over a year's time, classes that employ disciplinary interventions will have about 980 disruptions, whereas classes that do not will have about 1,800.

Subpoint 2: Anonymous tips

  1. Under a probable cause acting on anonymous tips would be curtailed because tips alone would be considered as insufficient probable cause this is problematic because students are the most likely to know before an event occurs.
  2. And Bilalad notes,

The program has intervened with 2,641 youth who were contemplating suicide, prevented 412 planned attacks and addressed 3,601 cases of bullying, among thousands of other incidents.

  1. In school shootings most peers knew something "big" was about to happen. More than 75 percent of the attackers had told at least one peer before the shooting happened; in more than half the incidents, the attackers had told more than one person.

`Subpoint 3: Decreases chances of drug abuse

  1. Changing the standards to probable cause would mean that school officials cannot search students for signs of abuse
  2. Swan of the national institute on drug abuse find that two-thirds of all people in treatment for drug abuse report that they were physically, sexually, or emotionally abused during childhood, as research shows.
  3. Drug abuse will still be prevalent because childhood abuse has shown a tendency to lead to drug abuse in the long term.

Contention 3

Safety concerns ought be the priority for the children.

Subpoint 1: Increasing safety increases achievement at schools

  1. Milam et al. (2010), for instance, found that increasing perceived safety increased achievement on standardized math and reading tests from 16 to 22% for Baltimore elementary schools. Schools that have lower academic scores tend to have a student population that does not feel safe within their schools.

Subpoint 2: Officials should have limited restrictions to be able to respond to potential threats quickly and ensure the safety of the students.

  1. The American Psychological Association notes that creating a safe and disciplined learning environment requires a preventative strategy that targets students at risk forviolence and disruption and a disciplinary strategy by which students are already misbehaved or punished.

The main interest of school officials should always be to ensure the safety and maintaining discipline on school grounds to deliver education in the best way possible. Events that call for discipline and preventing threats can require taking immediate effective actions. In order to this, the school officials must not be restricted of their disciplinary procedures.For these reasonsa I urge you to negate the resolution.

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Debate Round No. 5
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