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Searches, Social Media, and the Schoolhouse Gate: Constitutional Law and School Resource Officers

The Supreme Court made clear decades ago that students do not "check their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate." But it has also affirmed a competing principle: that the very nature of educating minors gives school administrators authority to set limits on students' rights that would otherwise be constitutionally suspect. This tension has become all the more complicated in recent years and more and more schools have police officers specifically assigned to the school. These "School Resource Officers" have to apply the traditional rules of constitutional criminal procedure to the school context, where these are different concerns than police officers would ordinarily face on the street. This program provides an overview of relevant case law (2018) and how the federal constitution does, and does not, limit School Resource Officers in their daily work, and what other school administrators should, and should not expect from a SRO in their school in light of those limits.