Monday, 18 July 2011

The authoritarian school

If a police officer wants to search your locker, he or she needs a warrant. If a teacher or principal wants to search your locker, they can simply break into it.



heather80 said...

It's not quite that cut and dry. The police would need a warrant...or permission from the owner of the locker (the school). A student does not own, nor even rent, that locker, they simply are allowed use of it during the school year. It is not the same thing as searching a student's car, house, etc..

If you go to the gym, and the gym has reason to expect you have something hazardous in the locker you are using, they can go into your locker too. They own the locker, and you do not have a rental agreement on it.

Most schools do not break into a student's locker without reasonable cause, and I'm actually quite glad they are allowed to. It is the school's job to ensure the safety of its students: all of them, not just the ones who'd like their privacy. The permission, if not abused, to search a locker is, to me, important and very reasonable.

Wendy said...

At my school the kids aren't allowed to have locks on their lockers and they know they don't own the space, therefore no one keeps anything in there that they wouldn't want the whole world to see. It works very well.

Terri-Ann said...

Wendy - interesting that there are no locks. That certainly would solve many issues, including students bringing expensive phones and such that they might leave in their lockers. (Does any 14 year old really need a $500 phone???!!!)

But I still don't know how I feel about the free pass for opening the locker, when a police officer needs a warrant. If it was just about being school property, then you would think a cop would also be able to open it. It's the specific detail that a cop needs a warrant but a teacher doesn't that gives me pause for thought. One situation says that the person (cop) must perform due diligence in making sure his info is accurate. The other situation says that the person (teacher) can open whatever they want.

For sure, many teachers wouldn't abuse such power, but I certainly recall many teachers over the years who felt the need to assert undue authority over students, the type of people who like to lord power and control over others. This seems to give them one more way to aggressively assert themselves over students.