Pubdate: Fri, 09 May 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC) 
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Micheal Vonn


Re: Safety vs. freedom, Geoff Johnson, May 5

The Supreme Court of Canada decisions regarding the use of dogs for
random searches of public places have generated much unfounded
hysteria. For the record, the court has not disallowed such searches.
It found that the police require "reasonable suspicion" before they
can conduct such a search. Johnson would have us believe that the
decisions deprive schools of the ability to safeguard students. This
is incorrect.

The court said that the expectation of privacy in a school is lower
than in other settings because of the school's obligation to ensure
safety. Principals and teachers are still fully capable of following
up information regarding drugs or weapons and they can still seek
police assistance. What they can't do is give the police carte blanche
to drop by any time, with no grounds whatsoever, to search students'
possessions. What's really dangerous is when people start believing
that we need to give up our rights to stay safe.

Micheal Vonn

Policy director

B.C. Civil Liberties Association
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