A Few Words on Search and Seizure

We conclude our review of student discipline topics with a few words on search and seizure. The basic rules are straightforward. The seminal case is New Jersey v TLO, a 1985 decision from the United States Supreme Court. TLO involved a school administrator who had reason to believe a student was in possession of tobacco products, a violation of school rules. The school administrator searched the student's purse for the tobacco and, instead, found marijuana. The question presented was whether the administrator's search violated the Fourth Amendment of the federal constitution, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Supreme Court established a two-part test for determining whether an administrator's search of a student, or a student's effects, is legal. First, the administrator must have reasonable suspicion the student has violated school rules, typically set forth in the district's student code of conduct. Second, the administrator must have reasonable suspicion the search will result in evidence supporting the alleged violation. If both parts of the test are satisfied, the search is legal. If not, the search violates the Fourth Amendment of the federal constitution and the district is subject to liability. Read more (including examples!).

Additional Insights...

Payroll Deduction of Union Dues to Stop — 6th Circuit Lifts Injunction Against PA 53

On May 9, 2013, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the injunction that prevented the enforcement of Michigan’s 2012 Public Act 53 (PA 53).  Bailey v. Callaghan, et al, No. 12-1803 (6th Cir., 2013).  PA 53 amends the Public Employment Relations Act to make unlawful a public school employer’s collection of union dues or service fees from employees’ wages through payroll deductions.

Specifically, PA 53 makes the collection of all union dues or service fees by public school employers unlawful as of its effective date — March 16, 2012. Read more.

Court of Appeals Rejects Injunction Against PA 54 and PA 152 Payroll Deductions for Health Care Costs

Following expiration of its collective bargaining agreement with the union representing deputy sheriffs, the County advised the union that, in compliance with both 2011 Public Act 54 (prohibiting employer payment of increased health care benefits after contract expiration) and 2011 PA 152 (prohibiting employer payment of health care costs exceeding statutory hard caps or 80% of total annual costs), it would deduct from all deputy sheriffs paychecks the dollar amount of the increased and/or excess health care costs. Read more.