|dc.description.abstract||To combat crime, police officers are being placed in public schools throughout the United States. Known as “School Resource Officers,” (SROs) these sworn officers are placed in schools to perform multiple tasks, including law enforcement, classroom instruction, and counseling. While police officers must adhere to probable cause standards when searching individuals in schools, under T.L.O., school administrators have the authority to search students on a lesser standard of reasonable suspicion.
While it is clear that the standard for police officers is probably cause, and the standard for school administrators is reasonable suspicion, the law concerning SROs is not well established. Although SROs are sworn police officers, when they are working in public schools SROs must perform tasks similar to those performed by school administrators. This study provides an historical review of search and seizure law, and provides an up-to-date perspective on school resource officers and their legal authority to search students in today’s schools.
Findings of the study include the following:
1) A strong argument can be made that the legal standard applicable to school resource officers working in conjunction with school officials is the T.L.O. standard.
2) Further, a persuasive argument can be made that the legal standard that is applicable to school resource officers working independent from school officials is the T.L.O. standard.
3) School resource officers must justify the search at its inception by the establishment of reasonable suspicion.
4) The school resource officer’s search must be reasonably related to the objectives and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction.
INDEX WORDS: S.R.O., School resource officer, School liaison officer, School police, Student searches, Search and seizure, Fourth amendment||