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51 minutes ago, Scoutmomonly said:

The expectations are clear, in writing, shared via meeting, email and strong consistency over the years. That’s why it is a well accepted policy.

Absolutely right.

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MODERATOR NOTE...

Scouter dot com is not a legal forum, and cannot give advice on the law. If you are posting advice, please also post your State and Bar license number. 

Thank you. 

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11 hours ago, yknot said:

A 'scout is trustworthy' will not be an adequate legal defense when a scout arrives at a camp site with an inappropriate item and something unfortunate happens because a leader didn't check the bags. We're involved in a youth organization and as adults it's our job to keep them safe. No other youth organization would allow kids on an outing without checking bags. On school, church and sports outings I've been involved with, it's been done by adults as part of the routine while loading buses and cars and no kids are present. 

I have one son who just graduated high school and another going into 9th grade.  We have had many school (grade level), band & church outings over the years.  We have never had the adults open any luggage or pack to inspect for any contraband items.  I don't know of any times that there have been unannounced searches without the owner of the bag (at minimum the student) being present.  And even in those very limited situations where a bag has been searched, it was a limited scope to include the bags of a very small group.  In one case, 4 students were staying together in a room.  One student claimed that something was missing.  The bags of those 4 students were searched, with the students being present.  There was no room to room search of every bag of every student.  We have never done this in Scouting either.  As a Scoutmaster, I'm not searching bags without a very valid, specific reason.  The situation in the OP seems quite troubling to me.  As a parent, I would have a problem with adults arbitrarily searching bags like that also.  

In a Scouting context, there is no 4th amendment issue as BSA is a private organization.  However, with the schools, that could come into play as the adults leading the school sanctioned trips would be agents of the state at that point.  How do you articulate that you have probable cause to search each bag, of each student, just to make sure there is nothing in there that they aren't supposed to have?  

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THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE.  IT IS MERELY INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO ANYONE WHO CAN USE GOOGLE.

https://www.kappanonline.org/underwood-under-law-student-privacy-search/

https://www.illinoislegalaid.org/legal-information/are-locker-or-strip-searches-public-schools-legal

https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/research/education-law/students-have-privacy-rights-under-the-fourth-amendment.html

 

"T.L.O.’s case was at the heart of the case brought by then-13- year-old Savana Redding, who was strip-searched down to her underwear by officials at her middle school who suspected that she was hiding over-the-counter ibuprofen tablets.

Savana sued her school district, claiming unreasonable search and seizure, and her case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

In the case of Safford Unified School District v. Redding—25 years after the T.L.O. casethe Supreme Court found that Savana’s rights had, in fact, been violated and stated that a search by a school must not be “excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction.”

Given that 13-year-old Savana was accused of having an over-the-counter medication, forcing her to strip was excessively intrusive and therefore unreasonable.

In an age in which school shootings are an unfortunate occurrence and drugs on high school grounds are common, no court has said that schools are prohibited from searching students—even strip-searching students—particularly in cases that involve the suspicion of weapons or contraband on the school grounds.

If you look at your district’s policy, it will likely contain an explanation of when and how it will conduct searches.

As for the Canadian high school that conducted a strip-search after a math exam to find a cell phone, the facts simply don’t add up under American constitutional law to find that such a search would be considered reasonable."

National Constitution Center at 

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/when-does-a-public-school-have-the-right-to-search-its-students

 

 

 

 

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On 6/18/2019 at 7:12 PM, Scoutmomonly said:

Is there a policy preventing a scoutmaster from going through a scout’s tote at summer camp?

He claims he was cleaning up and noticed several scouts had medication and cell phones so he then looked at all the totes and took all the phones and meds. 

Kids are upset because they were at their merit badges and came back to find their stuff had been gone through. 

I tried to talk with him to explain how the kids felt, but he states he was protecting himself since the kids had “contraband”.  Just wondering if this should be reported. 

This is a tough one.  First, I do agree that the Scoutmaster has the right to go through a scout's bag.That said, as a former ASM, there is no way I would go through somebody's bag without a witness, and I wouldn't do so without the knowledge of the Scout.  Our Troop had a policy of the Scouts managing their own medication, unless the parents of the Scout specifically asked the SM/ASMs to manage their medication.  

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17 hours ago, yknot said:

I think this is another case where BSA is 10 or 15 years behind the times. There should be no expectation of privacy on a scout outing. It's not a matter of trust, it's simply the current reality.  There should be no discussion here. Scoutmaster, camp personnel, other designated leaders should have ability to search backpacks at any time if they have just cause. Whether it's cell phones, medications that could make someone sick if not administered properly, or contraband snacks in bear territory, the SM and the camp and troop leaders shoulder the responsibility of keeping everyone safe. 

I think the  problem most of us have, is that it was done while the Scouts were at activities, and that they were never told about it, but figured it out.  I agree totally that the SM has the right to search a backpack or locker, as part of his en loco parentis.  However, since he's not the parent, he should do so transparently--out in the open, in front of the Scout who's stuff is being searched.  

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16 hours ago, yknot said:

Why would a scout need to be present? More important that two adults are present so that nothing can be "planted" on a kid. Frankly, it's only scouts where kids' luggage, backpacks, etc., is not routinely subject to adult search. BSA needs to get with the times. Class trips, sports team travel, band trips, it all gets searched no bones, no big deal about it. I applaud that scoutmaster. 

 

My sons were involved in sports (with overnight trips to games) and band (with overnight trips). Never once did their luggage get searched, although, I do know the coaches/band directors had that power.  Do the searches that you claim happen occur secretly, or in front of the students?  

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16 hours ago, yknot said:

Why would a scout need to be present? More important that two adults are present so that nothing can be "planted" on a kid. Frankly, it's only scouts where kids' luggage, backpacks, etc., is not routinely subject to adult search. BSA needs to get with the times. Class trips, sports team travel, band trips, it all gets searched no bones, no big deal about it. I applaud that scoutmaster. 

 

What kind of fascist place do you live in?  

 

I'm glad I live in a free area of a free state.  

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13 hours ago, yknot said:

A 'scout is trustworthy' will not be an adequate legal defense when a scout arrives at a camp site with an inappropriate item and something unfortunate happens because a leader didn't check the bags. We're involved in a youth organization and as adults it's our job to keep them safe. No other youth organization would allow kids on an outing without checking bags. On school, church and sports outings I've been involved with, it's been done by adults as part of the routine while loading buses and cars and no kids are present. 

I wouldn't be a scout leader in a troop where routine searching of luggage was the norm.  I agree that the power to do so should exist, but I also believe in trust. There is no way you can gain trust without trusting someone. Now, if there was a reasonable suspicion, I could see searching, but not without it.  As I've said, my sons were involved in Scouting, sports, band and church groups, all of which involved overnight travel at one point or another. I'm not aware that any searches were ever done of them, and I would find it odd if it did. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, awanatech said:

I have one son who just graduated high school and another going into 9th grade.  We have had many school (grade level), band & church outings over the years.  We have never had the adults open any luggage or pack to inspect for any contraband items.  I don't know of any times that there have been unannounced searches without the owner of the bag (at minimum the student) being present.  And even in those very limited situations where a bag has been searched, it was a limited scope to include the bags of a very small group.  In one case, 4 students were staying together in a room.  One student claimed that something was missing.  The bags of those 4 students were searched, with the students being present.  There was no room to room search of every bag of every student.  We have never done this in Scouting either.  As a Scoutmaster, I'm not searching bags without a very valid, specific reason.  The situation in the OP seems quite troubling to me.  As a parent, I would have a problem with adults arbitrarily searching bags like that also.  

In a Scouting context, there is no 4th amendment issue as BSA is a private organization.  However, with the schools, that could come into play as the adults leading the school sanctioned trips would be agents of the state at that point.  How do you articulate that you have probable cause to search each bag, of each student, just to make sure there is nothing in there that they aren't supposed to have?  

I agree with you 100%.  My sons (one just finished his second year of college, other one just finished his first) went on a variety of trips with different organizations. I'm not aware that they had ever been routinely searched. If I were a SM or ASM again, I wouldn't routinely search for contraband.  I might have the older boys make sure the younger boys have what they need for a trip, but no routine search for contraband.  

 

That said, there are no 4th amendment issues with school officials doing searches of luggage in extracurricular trips.  Why? Extracurricular trips are a privilege, not a right, and you choose to go on extracurricular activities. In my local district, this means they have to agree to random drug testing to participate.  

Edited by perdidochas
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8 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

What kind of fascist place do you live in?    

Isn't that a little extreme?

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, David CO said:

Isn't that a little extreme?

Not in my opinion.  I was flabbergasted to read that in other parts of the country, kids' luggage is regularly searched.  I agree it's the right of the school/organization to do so, I just don't think it sends a good message to the kids, and yes, it is a sign of a very authoritarian government/organization, IMHO.  

Edited by perdidochas
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7 hours ago, Scoutmomonly said:

You are correct in that adults search bags when leaving on school trips without the student present. However, this is made explicitly clear to the student and parents when going over the trip expectations. The expectations are clear, in writing, shared via meeting, email and strong consistency over the years. That’s why it is a well accepted policy.

However, when there is a change the expectations AND you don’t adequately teach it, it is not right to then play “gotcha” and make it the kids problem. It is your fault for not making the change clear. You model stronger leadership and build a better relationship by admitting your mistake and explaining to the scout that you will need to inspect gear to fix your mistake. 

This leader first made a mistake by not making the expectations clear and his second mistake was then treating the scouts as if it was their fault by going through their belongings when he realized his own mistake. 

Some schools.  My sons school did a long distance trip without a bag search.  It was tossed on the bus and they left.  

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I went to High School in a public suburban high school in the midwest. Graduated in 2012. Never in school, band, soccer or Scouts did I have my locker, gym bag, trunk, tote or vehicle searched. Granted, I never gave the authorities reasonable suspicion. In school we may have had our lockers searched if a drug dog had a scent on a locker, but otherwise our stuff was left alone. 

My own two cents as a troop leader, unless I think a situation/scout is dangerous to me/others/self.(IE weapons/drugs) I'm going to request access to their stuff with them and a second adult present. Some Scout not turning in meds or having a cell phone is not a great reason to search the Scouts stuff. 

Maybe I've only worked with upstanding Scouts in the last 8 years, but I can't recall contraband that required a secret search. 

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Well we had one scout that had 27 knife's on him during a camping trip.  His father who was on the camping trip removed all but 2 of the knifes from him.

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