The Volokh Conspiracy

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Search and Seizure

"What Happens … When Two School Employees Suspect That Their Colleague is Under the Influence

"of prescription medication, search her bag without permission, and find a firearm inside? And what happens when school board officials find out and want to question the perpetrator? Has the Fourth Amendment been transgressed?"


See Thursday's opinion by Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove (E.D. Ky.) in Lawson v. Creely for his answers to these questions. The bottom line:

School employees and officials are bestowed with a societal responsibility to keep their pupils safe from harm. As this case demonstrates, that high degree of responsibility can sometimes conflict with the individual rights of others. Here, Holly Lawson's individual [Fourth Amendment] rights were infringed by her colleagues. For the reasons explained above, however, her civil action cannot succeed.