Pubdate: Thu, 01 May 2008
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Pearce Richards


The Supreme Court ruling does not give carte blanche for students to
store drugs in their lockers. Charter protection against search and
seizure only protects against the actions of "agents of the state."
Students' lockers are still open to warrantless search by school
officials. When police officers become involved, the threshold
required is "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity. This means
they must have some evidence or testimony to lead them to target
specific students.

The ruling protects against the kinds of totalitarian searches such as
the ones conducted at Sarnia, where students had their backpacks
placed in a gymnasium and searched by police, while the students were
locked in their classrooms. Students have a reasonable expectation of
privacy in respect to their belongings.

All students should not be presumed to be drunken, drug-dealing, glue
sniffers peddling their wares in the schools. The ruling acts to
restrain the police from making these kinds of generalizations
regarding our youth. The police now have the opportunity to show they
can do real police work instead of bringing entire school populations
under their embarrassing and marginalizing scrutiny.

Pearce Richards,

Burnaby, B.C.
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