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Constitutional Rights Of Children In The Educational Setting

Traditionally, it was assumed that students would behave and express themselves in acceptable ways, and thus their Constitutional rights did not need to be recognized or protected in any official manner. Since the 1960s, this notion has gone by the wayside. The Supreme Court has recognized that students do not shed their constitutional rights upon crossing the schoolhouse threshold. The Court has recognized that schools function as a "market-place of ideas" and that FIRST AMENDMENT rights must receive "scrupulous protection if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes" (TINKER V. DES MOINES INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, 393 U.S. 503, 21 L. Ed. 2d 731, 89 S. Ct. 733 [1969]).

The rights of students to wear black armbands in protest of the VIETNAM WAR, to dance, and to use obscene and vulgar language on campus are but a few of the many First Amendment issues that have been litigated. In addition, debates over school prayer, religion in a public school curriculum, and government aid to parochial schools all affect the education children receive. Many court decisions limit the FOURTH AMENDMENT rights of students with regard to searches for drugs, to drug testing, and to searches of their lockers.

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