Jane M. Lavoie


In New Jersey v. T.L.O., the United States Supreme Court grappled for the first time with the issue of student searches under the fourth amendment. The Court took a needed step forward in acknowledging the privacy rights of students and in articulating a standard that can provide adequate protection for those rights. However, it misapplied this standard to the facts of the case. This error need not undermine the opinion's mandate to educators: they must respect students' right to privacy. In order to understand and fulfill this obligation, educators must have a clear and complete understanding of the T.L.O. decision. This Comment will illuminate and address the opinion's inconsistencies. It will decipher the meaning of the Supreme Court's ruling for educators and students and explain the impact that it should have on our schools.

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