Education: Search Rules

The court sets a standard

Theodore Choplick, assistant vice principal at Piscataway High School in New Jersey, thought he was doing a reasonable thing. He opened the purse of a 14- year-old girl who had been caught breaking school rules by smoking in the lavatory. The girl denied she had been smoking in the lavatory or that she ever smoked. Choplick figured that the contents of her purse would show whether she was lying. They did. The purse contained cigarettes, marijuana and some notes suggesting that she was selling pot to other students. Choplick called the police.

Last week, after three lower court proceedings and nearly...

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