Congress is trying to screw over high school students. Fortunately, readers of this blog alreadly know how to read a bill and respond with appropriate letters to Congress. Here’s the link to respond to Congress. Because of on this piece of crap legislation, we only need 1/3 of the vote to kill the bill. The text of the bill is below the fold.
Student and Teacher Safety Act of 2006 (Introduced in House)
HR 5295 IH
H. R. 5295
To protect students and teachers.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 4, 2006
Mr. DAVIS of Kentucky (for himself, Mr. KIRK, and Mr. KUHL of New York) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce
To protect students and teachers.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Student and Teacher Safety Act of 2006′.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) The United States Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reported in the 2005 Indicators of School Crime and Safety that between 1993 and 2003, 17 percent of students in grades 9-12 reported they carried a weapon, with 6 percent reporting they had brought one into school.
(2) The same survey reported that 29 percent of all students in grades 9-12 reported that someone offered, sold, or gave then an illegal drug on school property within the last 12 months.
(3) The Supreme Court held that the judgments of school officials are immune from suit only as long as courts find that student searches do not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights (Harlow vs. Fitzgerald (1982)).
(4) The United States Constitution’s Fourth Amendment guarantees `the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures’.
(5) That while the Supreme Court affirmed the Fourth Amendment’s application to students in public schools in New Jersey vs. TLO (1985), the Court ruled that searches of students do not require warrants issued by judges showing probable cause. The Court held that a search was permissible if–
(A) there are reasonable grounds for suspecting the search will reveal evidence that the student violated the law or school rules; and
(B) the measures used to conduct the search are reasonably related to the search’s objectives, without being excessively intrusive in light of the student’s age, sex, and nature of the offense.
(6) The Federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia later ruled that the smell of marijuana did not provide reasonable suspicion to search book bags, purses, and pockets (Burnham vs. West (1987)) and the Florida Appellate Court ruled that students huddled together with money and goods did not justify a search (A.S. vs. State of Florida (1997)).
(7) The Supreme Court noted the difficulty in defining a `reasonable suspicion’ to permit student searches writing `articulating precisely what reasonable suspicion means … is not possible. Reasonable suspicion is a commonsense, nontechnical conception that deals with the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians act (Orleans vs. United States (1996))’.
(8) That while the Supreme Court held that police officers must have warrants issued by judges based on probable cause to search students (Orleans vs. United States), lower courts are divided on the standards applied to school security officials. In the Interest of Angelia D.C. (1997) a Wisconsin court held police officers in schools did not need a warrant while in State of New Hampshire vs. Heirtzler (2000), the Supreme Court held that they did.
(9) The Ninth Federal Circuit ruled that a school could not use drug-sniffing dogs unless school officials showed an individualized, reasonable suspicion for each student. Prevention of drug abuse did not justify searches using dogs because it intruded on a child’s expectation of privacy in school (B.C. vs Plumas Unified School District (1999)).
(10) The Seventh Federal Circuit struck down drug tests applied to students suspended for fighting (Willis vs. Anderson School Corp. (1998)), or in the Federal Eastern District of Texas for the general student population (Tannahil vs. Lockney Independent School District (2001)).
(11) The Supreme Court held in Earls vs. Board of Education of Tecumseh Public School District (2002) that random drug testing was `reasonable’ and did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The Court also held schools served as `guardian and tutor’, could exercise `greater control than those for adults’ and had `important interests’ in the health and safety of students. The Court finally held that schools did not need to show an `individualized suspicion’ nor a `demonstrated problem of drug abuse’ and there was no `threshold level’ of violation that needed to be satisfied.
(12) Based on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Harlow, the enactment of a clear federal statute defining `established statutory and constitutional rights’ would help to insulate teachers and school officials who conduct student searches from lawsuits.
(13) While policies are best chosen by local school boards, policies governing student searches and seizures have been set federally and can only be properly defined and upheld by congressional statute.
(14) By applying the Court’s standards affirming a school’s guardian role to not require a threshold of violation in Earls, the Congress can clearly define the rights of teachers and school officials to ensure their classrooms are not just free from drugs but also weapons.
SEC. 3. SEARCHES ON COLORABLE SUSPICION.
(a) In General- Each State, local educational agency, and school district shall have in effect throughout the jurisdiction of the State, agency, or district, as the case may be, policies that ensure that a search described in subsection (b) is deemed reasonable and permissible.
(b) Searches Covered- A search referred to in subsection (a) is a search by a full-time teacher or school official, acting on any colorable suspicion based on professional experience and judgment, of any minor student on the grounds of any public school, if the search is conducted to ensure that classrooms, school buildings, and school property remain free of all weapons, dangerous materials, or illegal narcotics.
SEC. 4. ENCOURAGEMENT TO PROTECT STUDENTS AND TEACHERS.
(a) In General- A State, local educational agency, or school district that fails to comply with section 3 shall not, during the period of noncompliance, receive any Safe Schools and Citizenship Education funds after fiscal year 2008.
(b) Definition- In this section, the term `Safe Schools and Citizenship Education funds’ includes any funds under any of the following provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965:
(1) Subpart 3 of part C of title II.
(2) Part A of title IV.
(3) Subparts 2, 3, and 10 of part D of title V.