By Jamie G.
Grade 7, Ohio

April 23,2006 Locker/Personal Searches Persuasive Letter Dear Mr.Hatteburg, I am a student at Solon Middle School, and I recognize why you and other staff members may believe in these locker/personal searches. I understand because it happened at our school, in my team as I am sure you are well aware. However, as a student, I do not believe that these searches are the right solution. From a students perspective these searches are and invasion of privacy, show that staff members donĂt trust the students, and create a major disturbance in this schools learning environment. From a staffĂs perspective these searches may be the right solution, but from a students perspective they are most certainly not. Locker/ personal searches are, in the minds of students, a major invasion of our privacy. Now, I realize these searches are meant just to guard our school, and our beloved students from dangerous objects, so they are only instituted with our well being in mind. However students see these random checks as an invasion of privacy. Why should staff members be allowed to check our backpacks and go through our personal belongings? I know itĂs meant as a safety procedure, but I believe it is also crossing the line. In the way that it is a violation of our Fourth Amendment right. The Fourth Amendment states, ˘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.÷ Need I say much more? The locker/personal searches show, from a studentĂs point of view, that the school staff members have little trust in them. They show me and many other students that the staff does not trust us enough, so as to keep our own school safe. That we cannot be trusted and they are forced to check our personal items for dangerous weapons. I know that this is ˘just a precaution÷, and that it is only being done to keep students out of harm's way. However, there are many alternatives to locker/personal searches. Ways that wonĂt ˘thin÷ the trust between staff and students. All you must do, Mr. Hatteburg, is open your eyes and make an effort. Here are great examples of alternative safety procedures that would be very beneficial to our school. One possible idea is the use of hidden security cameras in order to keep a closer eye on students. Another alternative is that if a student is found with a weapon, then immediate and permanent expulsion occurs. These are great alternative ways that help decrease the loss of trust between the staff and student body, and help to create a safer, more comfortable learning environment. These implemented searchers create a significant disruption in the secure, comfortable learning environment; that has always been held at SMS. These searches cause a major distraction to the students, so instead of focusing on school they worry about these searches. They also create an unsafe learning environment. Students see or hear about these searches and immediately feel uncomfortable; they figure out why these searches are taking place, and become scared or uncomfortable. This then takes their mind from schoolwork to personal safety. Now, I realize this may sound strange because the searches are meant to do exactly the opposite. They are meant to create a safer environment yet, 14, 13 and 12 year olds canĂt always make that same connection. Therefore, I truly and deeply believe that, if you want the best for the hard-working students at our beloved school; you will find an alternative solution to these searches. Otherwise, IĂm afraid, the perfect learning environment you and your staff strived, for may go down the drain. Though, what I feel is more worrying is that eventually the test scores will follow. So, in conclusion, I believe that locker/personal searches will do more harm to SMS, than they will good. These searches are an invasion of privacy (also a violation of the fourth amendment right), ˘thin÷ the already decreasing bond of trust between the staff, and students as well as create a major distraction in the students learning. However, I also feel that safety matters and procedures are important as well as needed. This is why alternative solutions such as security cameras and immediate expulsion would be more beneficial to our school and community. Though, this cannot happen without help from you and your staff. So, Mr. Hatteburg, if you truly want to make our school a better place; I believe you must step up and take action. Please help to make our school a better place!! Sincerely, Jamie G 7E

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