Dallas, TX asked in Education Law and Civil Rights for Texas

Q: can your school search your unattended backpack

i left my backpack in the bathroom an admin found it and searched it i was told there was no probabale cause other then a random bag in the bathroom

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1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: It depends on whether the search was reasonable under the circumstances. I can think of several reasons why it might have been reasonable, including:

1) to determine the ownership of the backpack so it could be returned

2) to determine if a bomb or other dangerous device was inside the backpack

3) to determine if drugs were inside the backpack and the bathroom was being used as a dead drop.

In addition, depending on the appearance of the backpack, it may have been reasonable to perceive the backpack as abandoned, in which case there is no expectation of privacy.

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