Know Your Rights


Matt Fitzsimonds

This is a picture of the Hall Cross Country team. This picture was taken on the set on stairs outside of the gym. This spot would be considered on campus.

Liam Knapp and Jullian Baker

This is a picture of a group of guys. This picture was taken on a patch of grass next to the parking lot. This sport would be considered off-campus.

So you’re standing in the bathroom minding your own business when two kids walk in and proceed to participate in some “frowned upon” activities. You’re not a snitch, and normally you wouldn’t care, but they happen to be quite close to you, and they might even engage in some light conversation with you. Just then, a security guard enters the bathroom and you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. Your brain starts going one-million miles per hour with countless questions. Can I get in trouble? What if they start pointing fingers at me? What rights do you relinquish to the school? Are they going to call your parents? What is the punishment for first-time offenders?

High School students all across the globe know what they can and can’t get away with, but most are unaware of the actual rights granted to them, or taken away from them, as students. At Hall High School, the majority of students never really read the student handbook, but this article will provide a rundown of student rights you may not be aware you have or don’t have.

  The line between what’s right and wrong can get blurred when in a school setting. There are some black and white rules that are stated very clearly, such as students are not allowed to leave school grounds during the day, the teacher has the right to take your mobile learning device (phone) during class, no drugs, alcohol, or weapons. Then there are some not so clear or transparently shown rules such as what grounds does the school/teacher/administrator has the right to search your belongings? Can a teacher refuse to let you go to the bathroom or nurse? We will answer all these questions, and any more you may have so you can stay in class and skip the office. 

As you may very well know, search and seizure mean the prosecuting party (in this scenario, the school) has the right to search your belongings, and seize anything that seems to them to be evidence of a crime. Leaving campus for any reason, even to go to your car parked down the street, “If a student is out of bounds such as in the parking lot…” you can be subject to search and seizure by the

This is a picture of the Hall Cross Country team. This picture was taken on the set on stairs outside of the gym. This spot would be considered on-campus.

school administration. The police will only get involved under specific circumstances. “I (as a police officer) would need a search warrant or physically see something illegal for me to search your car.” Police cannot get involved unless there is a clear and/or imminent danger present. The student handbook has a very vague description of when a student, or their belongings, may be searched. “Desks and school lockers are the property of the school, placed there for the temporary convenience of students… The right to inspect desks, lockers assigned to students, and personal automobiles parked on school property may be exercised by school officials to safeguard students, their property, and school property…” As you can see, the school reserves the right to search you, and anything you possess, for any reason they deem necessary. Grabbing your charger from your car because your phone is about to die could result in the major inconvenience of you being searched.

Teachers are able to prevent you from going to the bathroom or nurse during their class, for any reason they may have. They have no obligation to allow you to leave for any “non-required” reason, and can legally hold you in class until the bell rings. Most teachers will only prevent you from leaving if missing the lesson means you may fall behind. Most teachers also usually let you go to the nurse even if their lesson is important, but the bathroom seems to be a little less important to them.