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Safety Law News for January 25, 2019

January 26, 2019

  • In New Mexico, the United States District Court upheld searches by school officials of an entire class after a student reported that someone stole $210. The court held that the pat down searches were “justified at its inception because Defendants possessed reasonable suspicion,” and were reasonable in scope under the standard that searches possess a “moderate chance of finding evidence of wrongdoing.” (Woods v. Rio Rancho Public Schools) 

  • In New Mexico, the United States District Court held that a school resource officer did not use excessive force when he deployed a taser that struck a special needs student who left campus while running away from school officials. The court ruled that to establish a claim for violation of the Fourth Amendment through excessive force, a person must show both that a “seizure” occurred and that the seizure was “unreasonable. The court concluded that there was no seizure because the student, after being tased, failed to submit and eluded the officer.  (Gutierrez v. Albuquerque Public Schools) 

  • In Louisiana, the Court of Appeal of Louisiana upheld the finding of liability against both a school resource officer and the city for tortious behavior when 22 elementary school students, who were identified as bullies, were forced to kneel in gravel as punishment. The court ruled that the SRO was acting in his capacity as a police officer and that his tort was attributable to the city because he was at the elementary school at the request of the school. (Carter v. Pointe Coupee Parish School Board) 

  • In Pennsylvania, the Lancaster County District Attorney's office has distributed an emergency response kit to all school resource officers. The kits contain five tourniquets, four chest seals, five bandages and one quick clot gauze.

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