Summer is upon us. The sun is shining brightly in Missouri and the heat has come with it. School is about to let out, and your child is more than ready for summer vacation. You’ve lined up some activities, a list of chores and made plans to keep them occupied over the summer. While summer is just beginning, as a parent, you are already thinking ahead to the next school year.
Your kid is older now and will be transitioning into an atmosphere that can be more influential. Popularity, finding the right clique and pressures to really fit in have you concerned. As your child gets older, you want to teach them how to act in different settings. You also want to make sure your child understands their rights—especially in new environments and political climates. You’ve heard talk about searches at school, which has left you with questions.
Can your child be searched at school?
Your child is expected to follow laws and school rules when on school property and at school functions. However, if there are suspicions, students may be asked by school officials to have their property searched. Your child is entitled to privacy and can say no to:
- Emptying their pockets
- Being patted down
- Having their purse, car or backpack checked
However, schools and law enforcement may still conduct a search if they have reasonable suspicion to do so. If something illegal, such as drugs, are found during the search, their possessions can be seized and your child can be arrested.
Items that your child uses that belong to the school can be searched without your asking child’s permission. Such items include:
What are your child’s rights at school?
It is important to teach your child that they do have rights at school. Even with reasonable suspicion, searches must be properly conducted. Make sure your child knows what their rights are, and how to act.
- You and your child should go over the school’s code of conduct.
- If your child is involved in something, they have the right to be heard.
- Just as your child has the right to tell their side of the story, they also can remain silent.
- Your child has the right to call you if they are being questioned or are asked to be searched.
- Tell your child that they absolutely do not have to sign any statements at school.
You do your best to keep your child out of trouble over summer break. Make sure they are prepared to handle any situation that comes their way next school year. If your child does end up in trouble, they do have the right to appeal a suspension or other claims. Examine school policies, state laws and know who to contact before the summer break ends.