Juvenile Law Center, along with the ACLU of North Carolina and a number of other civil rights and juvenile justice organizations, co-authored a brief on behalf of T.A.S., a fifteen-year old public alternative school student who was searched on school grounds.
The brief argued that the search of T.A.S. was unconstitutional. The search in question took place when school officials, acting on a tip that students were carrying drugs, required every student in the school to submit to a search. All students were ordered into the lunchroom, which was secured as a “holding area” where students had to remain until called. The students, including T.A.S., were escorted into a classroom for a search in front of a number of individuals, including at least two men, one of whom was a school resource officer (police officer). The students had their outer clothing, socks, shoes, and bags searched, and were patted down. The girls were subjected to a more intrusive search: each girl, including T.A.S., was made to loosen and untuck her shirt, pull the shirt out, shake her shirt, and then using her hands, go underneath her shirt and pull her bra out from against her body.
Juvenile Law Center’s brief argued that the school did not have sufficient cause to conduct the highly intrusive search. The brief emphasized that enrollment in an alternative school should not undermine the rights that attach to all students to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.