What Rights do Students Have?

How Students basic rights are being violated by schools and what needs to change

The cover of Tritons student hand book for 2021-2022 school year.

The cover of Tritons student hand book for 2021-2022 school year.

The United States Constitution applies equally to everyone, regardless of age, color, race, religion, or any other factor.  However, the rights of minors are prone to being suppressed in places like schools and camps.  Public school students lose access to many of their rights in these public areas.

Many times students have had their basic rights violated by schools.  Now, more and more kids are standing up and fighting against these wrongdoings by schools.  At Triton, the school is adapting to the ever changing world and changed dress code rules over the summer allowing for students to wear hats at school. Although they now have added a software called Classwise to all school chromebooks that gives teachers access to see what is on their students screens.  

In some situations around the United States cases of schools breaking the privacy of students have gone all the way to the Supreme Court.  For example, in 1985, In New Jersey v. T.L.O. The Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures applies to school searches, but school officials do not require probable cause or a search warrant before searching students.  Instead, school officials only need “reasonable suspicion” before searching a student. Reasonable suspicion means that there are reasonable grounds, before the search begins, for suspecting that the search will reveal evidence that the student has violated school rules, or the law, and the search is reasonably related to the circumstances justifying the search.

The Triton Student Handbook Consists of 73 pages and is available on the high school website.  It explains everything  from what the range of grades are, all the way to Civil Rights Violations and everything in between, including Student Searches.  Though students are under the school’s discipline code while in school, they still have a right to see their reasonable expectations of privacy respected. Therefore, students have their right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure even while in school.  I also think this includes Classwise. While school authorities have greater latitude to search students and their possessions than authorities outside of school, the scope of what counts as reasonable imposes limits on school searches.

I think that not only Triton, but all public schools throughout the United States should have their rules and regulations on student privacy changed.  It’s unfair for students to have to worry about being watched while on their computers at school or even at home.  Emails and students’ google accounts can also be accessed by the school.  Although the school can use the school wise software to keep kids focused, I still find it unfair and an invasion of privacy.