The Challenges to School Policing

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Betty Cox, Jennifer A. Sughrue, Luke M. Cornelius, & David Alexander (2012)

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Paperback, 142 pages

Monograph #83

ISBN-10: 1-56534-150-3

ISBN-13: 978-1-56534-150-0

The rapid rise of policing in public schools presents new and considerable legal challenges for schools, law enforcement agencies, and courts. This phenomenon raises issues of protecting the rights of students and the constitutional standards applicable to police officers. This monograph provides the single reference concerning the legal responsibilities and limitations of school police and the standards governing search, seizure, interrogations, and arrests in the school setting.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction and Methodology



Chapter 2: Published Case Law and Legal Issues

Frequency of Cases

Outcomes of Cases

Bases for Litigation

Chapter 3: Historical Context and Evolution of School Policing


COPS Grants: Save Our Schools Initiative

Presence and Effectiveness of SROs and School Police

SRO Guidelines

Chapter Summary

Chapter 4: State Laws, Regulations, and Agency Rules

Statutory Foundation

Roles, Duties, and Jurisdiction

Training and Certification

Memorandum of Understanding

Chapter Summary

Chapter 5: Governing Fourth Amendment Principles

The “Right” to Privacy

Deciphering the Fourth Amendment

Search and Seizure in Schools

The Exclusionary Rule

Reasonable Suspicion

Justified at Inception

Scope and Nature of Search

Individualized Suspicion

Special Needs Doctrine

Student Seizures

Chapter Summary

Chapter 6: Search and Seizure

Case Law and Jurisdictional Issues Involving SROs

Determining Jurisdiction

SRO Searches in Schools and at School-Related Events

Reasonable Suspicion or Probable Cause

School Officials

Initiate the Search

School Police or Liaison Officers Acting on Their Own

Authority Outside Police Officers

Initiate a Search

School Officials as Agents of Law Enforcement

Review Principles that Govern SRO Searches

SRO Seizures of Students

Chapter Summary

Chapter 7: Interrogations, the Fifth Amendment, and SROs

Miranda, the Supreme Court, and Schools

Interrogations by School Officials without SRO Involvement

School Interrogations by SROs without School Official Involvement

Interrogations Conducted Jointly by SROs and School Officials

Chapter Summary

Chapter 8: Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter Summary

Appendix A: List of Relevant School Policing Cases

Appendix B: Table of Cases Cited in Work

Appendix C: State Statutes Pertaining to School Policing

Appendix D: Resources Pertaining to School Policing Index