Police in Schools

One Virginia School District Still Demanding Search Warrants

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won't someone think of the children?

The Chesapeake School District in Virginia seems to have a grasp on the Fourth Amendment, demanding warrants on at least 12 occasions in the last 18 months before handing over material or information to police officers. According to the Virginian Post, this stands in stark contrast to practice in nearby school districts, which tend to happily hand over to police anything police may say they need. The Virginian Post reports:

Virginia Beach police Officer Grazia Moyers, a spokeswoman, said when city police have needed school surveillance video, schools willingly provided copies. Filing a search warrant, she said, is "just extra time for the investigators." When told that Chesapeake Police school resource officers sometimes had to go to court to obtain video surveillance footage or statements, Moyers said: "I'm shocked. I am in your school protecting you, and you're going to make me go through these steps?"

A large part of the argument centers largely around custody of school surveillance videos. Because they're held by administrators, the Chesapeake School District, rightly it would seem, considers them "student records," which are protected by law. and require warrants for release. But it's not stopping local police for trying to change the school district's practices:

[Police Chief Kelvin] Wright said in an interview Wednesday that he is aware other school systems readily provide video surveillance evidence to officers, and that he is talking with school officials in Chesapeake to see whether that can change. "We are trying to work out a solution between us and the appropriate attorneys," he said. "As to whether we get there or not - stay tuned."

But you don't need to stay tuned to know that the Fourth Amendment is increasingly becoming little more than a parchment promise.