Public Safety Versus Privacy for Students Analytical Essay by JCowie024

Public Safety Versus Privacy for Students
An exploration of the constitutional right to privacy as it relates to public school students.
# 129171 | 1,419 words | 5 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on Sep 07, 2010 in Law (Constitution) , Education (Social Issues)

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This paper discusses the Fourth Amendment as it relates to the privacy rights of public school students, focusing on a case in which a student was subjected to a strip search while on school grounds. The paper explains that the Constitution of the United States does not have specific language stating that citizens have an absolute right to privacy. However, the paper clarifies, the Fourth Amendment within the Bill of Rights points to an indication of privacy rights for citizens against unreasonable intrusions by the government; public school systems fall under the Fourth Amendment because they are considered representatives of the government. The paper also discusses the debate around the issue of the public safety of students versus the right to privacy. The paper concludes by noting that Courts throughout the country have ruled that the concern of public safety for students outweighs the privacy of students; in fact, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in two separate cases that the level of suspicion and evidence must match the level of intrusion in terms of the scope of the search.

The Fourth Amendment
Public Schools and the Right to Search and Seize
Public Safety vs. Student Rights to Privacy
Safford Unified School Dist. vs. Redding
United States Supreme Court Decision
Social Policy Implications

From the Paper:

"The concern of the safety of children on public school campuses rose to national attention with the Columbine School massacre in 1999. The warnings signs of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris that were planning such an attack were largely ignored. School districts across the country since that time have taken great measures to improve the safety of their campuses as a result. School officials have become more vigilant for certain behaviors and take swift action when complaints of gang activity, bullying and drug activity surface. However being that school officials are considered representatives of the government, the Fourth Amendment is still applicable in terms that probable cause and reasonable suspicion must still be present in order to conduct a search of a student. The search and seizure must fall within reasonable standards that such a search will produce evidence of the suspected infraction as established in New Jersey vs. T.L.O."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Liptak, A. (2009, June 25). Supreme Court Says Child's Rights Violated by Strip Search. New York Times. Retrieved from New Jersey v. T.L.O. 469 U.S. 325 (1985)
  • Pennsylvania ACLU. (2009). Student's Privacy Rights and School Security. Retrieved October 3, 2009, from
  • Safford Unified School Dist. #1 v. Redding (No. 08-479) 531 F. 3d 1071 (2009)
  • Snith. (2004). C. Retrieved October 2, 2009, from Snith, Week Two, CJA550 - Legal Matters.
  • Stefkovich, J., & Rossow, L. (2003). Search and Seizure in Public Schools: 2003 Updates of Fourth Amendment Cases. Retrieved October 4, 2009, from

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Public Safety Versus Privacy for Students (2010, September 07) Retrieved March 05, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Public Safety Versus Privacy for Students" 07 September 2010. Web. 05 March. 2021. <>