Imagine the following scenario: The principal at River City High School receives a telephone call from an anonymous informant, notifying her that he had observed a knife in "Jimmy's" backpack, and indicated that he might also have access to a gun. The principal recalls that Jimmy is the student who has dyed his hair blue and who wanders the halls wearing a black trench coat and a T-shirt that reads "School Sucks," in violation of the school district's dress code. She checks Jimmy's file and discovers that he has been absent on numerous occasions during the school year and has frequently been disruptive in class. Upon learning this, she authorizes a search of his school locker. Pursuant to the principal's order, a security guard finds a large quantity ofmarijuana in Jimmy's backpack. The principal calls the police. Jimmy is arrested, suspended from school, and subjected to criminal prosecution. As it turns out, the informant had never seen a knife in Jimmy's backpack. Hejust thought Jimmy looked "creepy."
Jennifer L. Barnes,
Students Under Siege? Constitutional Considerations for Public Schools Concerned with School Safety,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol34/iss2/12