The Fourth Amendment: New Jersey vs. T.L.O.

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The Fourth Amendment to the constitution protects United States citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. Our forefathers recognized the harm and abuses that occurred in the colonies to innocent people by the British, and they made sure to write protections into the U.S. Constitution. Fearing the police state that any nation has the potential to become and recognizing that freedom and liberty is meaningless when victimization by the police is a real and foreboding threat the Fourth Amendment was created. The Fourth Amendment has gone through many challenges and controversies in the past, and currently the issue of how the Fourth Amendment applies to students in public schools has come to be contended in the courts. While it is apparent to me that the Fourth Amendment should be no less applicable in schools than in the general society these essential Constitutional protections have been under fire in recent years and many rights have been taken away from students.

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution 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." No where in this law does it create special divisions or classifications between adults and minors in society, so one should naturally assume that persons under 18 should be afforded the same protections as anyone over 18. The moment when minors are most at the mercy of government officials is while in school, and this is when these Constitutional Fourth Amendment protections are needed.

The largest and first assault on the rights of students to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures occurred in the case of New Jersey v. T.L.O. In 1980 at Piscataway High School in Middlesex County, N.J. a few girls were...
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