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By: Chris T.
Maryland, Grade 11



The debate over whether or not locker searches in American public schools should be allowed, or if the searches are even constitutionally supported, has been going on for many years. The simple fact is that school lockers offer dangerous hiding places for weapons, drugs and alcohol, and stolen items. Locker searches have been proven to cut down on criminal behavior involving these types of items in our public schools. Hidden weapons provide dangers to every person, student and teacher alike, in schools across America. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, guns, knives, mace, and home-made bombs are all things that have been found in school lockers during searches. Had these lockers not been searched, who knows what kind of carnage and destruction would have resulted. One can only look back in sadness to see the horrible consequences that resulted from students having guns and knives in schools, many of which were hidden in their lockers. Maybe future locker searches could help to prevent tragedies involving these weapons from taking place in our public schools. No one wants another devastating incident like the shootings at Columbine to happen again. In today’s troublesome world full of gangs, chronically bullied teenagers, and those corrupted by the violence that is habitually seen in today’s culture, using random locker searches to find hidden weapons seems like a necessity. Drug and alcohol use and drug dealing is on the rise in many of today’s public schools. Children are getting involved in the drug “game” at younger and younger ages, mostly thanks to the readily available supply of drugs hidden by student dealers in their lockers. According to a study published in Time Magazine last year, one in ten American children who attend public schools had tried marijuana by the sixth grade. At least half of the children who had tried it said that they bought the marijuana in their schools. Alcohol use is also on the rise among our youth. “Many high school students are mixing alcohol with drinks at lunch, hiding it in their lockers and taking swigs between classes,” reports one hopeless mother of a Washington, D.C. area student. “More needs to be done to prevent this kind of abuse, especially in our public schools.” How can we not randomly search lockers for drugs and alcohol while these intoxicating substances, which are being used more and more frequently in schools, are so damaging to our youth and to their futures? It would be a crime not to offer this service, which would scare many students out of dealing drugs in school. Another problem in today’s public schools is stealing. Books, calculators, scales, and computers are just a few of the expensive items stolen from schools, hidden in lockers, and then taken home to be used or sold. Nowadays, the Internet offers an almost unlimited opportunity for profit on almost any item imaginable. Students steal textbooks, sell them on EBay, and make forty dollars with basically no effort involved. They steal computer parts, stash them in their lockers until they can smuggle them home, and then put them in their own computers or sell them to friends in person or over the Internet. The profitability of selling stolen items from schools is extreme, which is why so many kids are doing it. Although many of these kids think they are making free money and hurting no one, this costs the schools, and inherently the taxpayers, a lot of money every year. Because these students do not encounter random locker searches, they are not afraid to steal items and use their lockers as hiding places. Locker searches would greatly cut down on this stolen item trafficking by both finding stolen items and by making students too afraid of getting caught to steal in the first place. But doesn’t the Fourth Amendment allow for privacy and protect American citizens against unlawful search and seizure? One must remember when considering this point that these schools, and their lockers, are public, and are paid for by the taxpayers of America. The government and its schools should therefore have the right to search these lockers, without violating any of the rights granted to us in the Constitution. These are not the students’ private lockers. Therefore, warrants are not needed, by law, to search them, especially when such dangerous items as drugs and weapons are thought to be hidden in them. Locker searchers in public schools are necessities. They have been proven to reduce violence from hidden weapons, lower the use of drugs and alcohol, and prevent many stolen items from reaching students’ homes. Imagine a future without violence, drugs and alcohol, and dishonesty in our nation’s public school system. Isn’t that worth sacrificing the privacy of our children’s public lockers for a few years of their lives?



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