Classroom Discussion Starter: Search and Seizure

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The Constitution protects us against unreasonable search and seizure. A school student feels that her right to privacy has been violated by her principal’s search of her purse. She offers her side of the story, and gives you something to think about when it comes to the 4th Amendment.

“Search and Seizure” Discussion Questions

  1. What are the protections of the 4th Amendment?
  2. What are the facts of this case? What happened? Try to include facts that involve actions by both the school and TLO.
  3. What are the responsibilities of the students, teachers, and administrators at school?
  4. Do students have a right to privacy at school? What are the limits to this right?
  5. How can a student’s right to privacy interfere with the responsibilities of teachers and administrators?
  6. You are a Supreme Court Justice! Applying the language of the 4th Amendment to the facts in the case New Jersey v. TLO, how would you rule in this case? Be prepared to support your answer with textual evidence.

About the Living News Classroom Discussion Videos

Performed at the National Constitution Center, Living News is a fast paced theatrical production that introduces current and controversial issues to middle and high school students.

Excerpts from the performance have been filmed and made available for use in the classroom—these video, along with the discussion questions provided, can help educators introduce or continue conversations on constitutional topics.

Classroom Resources

Living News Classroom Teaching Materials

For an in-depth analysis of the fourth amendment, check out the Interactive Constitution, a new, free, online teaching tool that delivers scholarship from top constitutional experts right to your classroom!

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