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Are locker raids an invasion of privacy?



Ah, high school, a period when we were all too untrusting of adults with our belongings. For most, the places we’d keep secret items would be in our desk, backpack, or even a storage closet only we know about. High School is widely seen as a time to hide our flaws, secrets and even our trinkets we knew were wrong to bring to school. That is why lockers are looked upon as a great way to put in not only your books but your personal belongings to make school a little bit more exciting. But what happens when there is a suspicious event that forces the adults you don’t really know to look through your personal property?

Lockers, during our shaky years of puberty, tend to be our only solace when we want to keep our stuff away from those we don’t really trust, but the lockers themselves are still the property of the school. So, for example, when a principal gets a tip that someone has been smuggling drugs in the school and put it in their locker but doesn’t know who, they’d have to search all the lockers and belongings inside. They technically can since the lockers are the school’s property, but the ongoing controversy is should they be allowed to search a locker without the permission of the item’s owner. It’s a continuous topic spread throughout schools all over the world yet no one seems to know the final answer. It’s a complicated balance between morals of searching through one’s things without their permission and the safety of others if the item/items are posing a threat to the owner and/or others around them.

A popular comparison would be what police officers do when they think they have found crucial evidence to incarcerate a criminal but they also have to search personal belongings to find it. There is more than often a warrant between these events for legal purposes set so if their suspicions are wrong, there will not be huge consequences except for a slap on the wrist. But warrants aren’t issued between the school staff or officers in charge of investigating a locker filled with the contents of someone’s belongings that they raid, usually, without their permission. It is, in a way, a great thing when they do find what they were looking for if they do search through the student’s belongings but it still begs the question whether it’s morally right to rummage through another’s property even though it was on the school’s property.

Parents entrust their kids to a whole staff of adults for 6 hours, 5 days a week for 8-9 months a year and we further trust our kids to not only be doing a great job in school but also not bringing things to provoke a locker search in the first place. Trusting these 2 majorly different groups can be risky but mostly, in the end, parents tend to side with the adults, though it can be argued that more parents nowadays are siding with their ever-growing, intelligent children over an adult who, as well as you know, can be incompetent. So, what are parents to do when they hear the adults they entrust their kid’s safety to go through their children’s stuff without permission? Who would you side with?

Of course, it always depends on what they find, what the search is for, the general nature of the child and/or children in the school and how competent the adults in the school staff are. A variety of factors play into a range of different outcomes and opinions but at the end of the day, morals still play a factor into how much privacy you can have in a school. Parents and kids can rest their minds easy knowing that the staff is doing everything in their control to keep the school’s environment safe, but the tone changes when you or your child is the target of such accusations. The opinions and situations differ from person to person but at the end of it all, it’s all for the protection of the children, whether from their peers or themselves.



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