Is It Legal for a Teacher to Search Students In California ?
In In re William G. (1985) 40 Cal. 3d 550, 221 Cal. Rptr. 118, 709 P.2d 1287 the court enunciated the standard that applies to a search of a student on school grounds by a public school official.
The court stated: ". . . We conclude that searches of students by public school officials must be based on a reasonable suspicion that the student or students to be searched have engaged, or are engaging, in a proscribed activity (that is, a violation of a school rule or regulation, or a criminal statute)." (Id. at p. 564.)
A similar standard was established by the United States Supreme Court in New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985) 469 U.S. 325, 341-342, 83 L. Ed. 2d 720, 105 S. Ct. 733:
"Under ordinary circumstances, a search of a student by a teacher or other school official will be 'justified at its inception' when there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school."