Five Pounds of Flax

Every culture has a burrito.

HR 5295 ("warrantless searches of students") passes, goes to the Senate

Saturday, September 23, 2006posted by Michael Rothwell @ 5:16 PM

HR 5295 is several things.

  1. An election-year tough-on-crime stunt.
  2. One more step down the road of turning our schools into prisons.
  3. Obedience training for future citizens. Getting kids used to random, warrantless searches will make them more compliant to government authority in the future. Plus, when whackos complain about violations of the 4th Amendment and government abuse of power, these folks will think and say, "but I've been searched all my life; it's no big deal".
  4. Asymmetric. Are the teachers, administrators and other staff also subject to random warrantless searches? How about the politicians? What do they have to hide?

It must be stopped. Anyone performing such a search on my kids is going to receive an unpleasant visit.

Call, write and/or visit your congresscritter. It was a voice vote, so assume they are all guilty (voted for the bill) until proven innocent (can prove they didn't, or that they opposed it). Call your representative's office and request to know how they voted. Make your opposition known. Do the same for your sentator.

This bill doesn't appear to do much on top of NEW JERSEY v. T. L. O., the 1985 case that established limits to 4th Amendment protections for minors on school grounds. HR 5295 cites that case, and adds the requirement that schools must have a policy that reflects more or less what New Jersey vs TLO says is acceptable anyway. The point appears to be to make it clearer to everyone that certain kinds of searches at schools are acceptable, and have been since 1985. I am uncertain whether this policy has been law before now, or just a court ruling. After the Senate passes this will, it will be law, of course.