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Do you know your rights as a student?

As a student it may feel like you don’t have any rights and are at the will of school administration. However, all students have certain rights in school that you should be aware of. Knowing what exactly you can (and cannot) do can be tricky, but we’re here to help make things a little more clear.

Does my school faculty or staff have the right to search my locker?
All schools have their own code of conduct, usually drafted by county or district (you should be given a copy of this at the start of school), however the consensus on lockers is that they are property of your school. Your desk and your locker belong to the school, therefore they have the right at any time to search it but they must have a justifiable reason for the search. For example, a strong drug odor was coming from a section of lockers.

Do they have the right to search my backpack, person or other personal belongings?
Again, if your school has probable cause then yes they can ask to search personal belongings. There is a certain way in which this should be handled. First, they should ask for you to open your bag or empty your pockets and show them the contents. Second, if a body search is to be performed the staff member doing the search should be the same gender as you. Third, the search must be reasonable, meaning that they have more than a strong hunch that you have contraband and they do not violate your physical rights i.e. strip searching.

Can I be suspended for breaking school rules off campus?
Yes and no. Depending on where you are when the incident occurs, you may still be eligible for suspension. Many schools still consider buses and bus stops to be under school jurisdiction, so if you are caught fighting or smoking at a school bus stop and someone reports it, you can still get suspended. Once you’re beyond those boundaries, discipline for poor behavior is left to your parent or guardian to handle.

Can I be suspended for things I post online?
Many schools and school districts are creating new policies related to what students post online because of issues with cyber bullying. If you post inappropriate content using a school computer you can likely be suspended and most schools have rules about appropriate in-school computer use. If you post mean things about someone online or make inappropriate posts using your school’s name or likeness, you can also possibly be suspended even if you posted something from your home computer or phone while you were not at school (see your school policy for more specific information).

Are your rights as a student being respected? Share your experiences below!

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by Lauren McMillan | 9/6/2017
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