In Beard v. Whitmore Lake School District,' the Sixth Circuit examined whether the law governing searches of students, specifically strip searches, was clearly established and deprived school officials of qualified immunity. The Sixth Circuit first evaluated the strip search's constitutionality under the Fourth Amendment. Then, the Sixth Circuit addressed whether qualified immunity protected school officials. Beard demonstrates that students' Fourth Amendment rights receive less protection than teachers' liability and could result in students shedding "their constitutional rights at the school house gate." With violence and drug use on the rise in schools, courts consider students' constitutional rights less important than the school's safety and security. Beard held that the strip search's scope was unconstitutional because the students' privacy expectations, the search's intrusive nature, and "the severity of the school system's needs" favored the students-not the school. Nonetheless, the teachers received qualified immunity because the law was not clearly established.
Davenport, Erin P.
"Stripped Bare: Students' Fourth Amendment Rights, School Searches, and the Reasonableness Standard,"
Tennessee Journal of Law & Policy:
1, Article 6.
Available at: http://trace.tennessee.edu/tjlp/vol4/iss1/6