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Safety Law News for May 24, 2019

May 27, 2019

• In Georgia, the United States Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling that the search of a student's cell phone without a warrant by school officials did not violate the Fourth Amendment.  The lower court held that, “a school official's search of a student's cell phone on school property and during the school day still fits within the framework announced in T.L.O.”

• In Maryland,  the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland upheld the adjudication of a student for gun possession on campus after the search of a school resource officer discovered the weapon.  The court ruled that the student’s behavior, the odor of marijuana, and the SRO’s knowledge of the student’s previous possession of marijuana provided probable cause to search and arrest him.  The court refused to decide whether the lower standard of reasonable suspicion under New Jersey v. T.L.O., (469 U.S. 325 (1985)) applied to the searches by school resource officers.

• In North Carolina, the Court of Appeals of North Carolina upheld the adjudication of a student for disorderly conduct after being found leaving school during the school day without permission by a school resource officer.  The court held that directing abusive and profane language at a police officer in a boisterous manner and resisting the commands of the SRO supported an inference that such language could likely provoke retaliation, and thereby cause a breach of peace.  The use of profane language was not protected by the First Amendment in all circumstances. 

• In Oregon, the Portland City Council voted to provide $1.6 million to fund school resource officer programs in three of the city’s largest school districts.  The decision was supported by superintendents for all three districts although some students and community members disagree. 

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