The following editorial appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune on December 27. I wish more papers issued editorials like this and that more school districts and school boards recognized the value of their advice:
Never waste a teachable moment. Especially if you are running a public school system.
Officials of Utah’s Alpine School District, like many other schools around the country, are weighing the balance between security and privacy as they ponder changes to their policy governing searches of students’ lockers and persons. Part of the discussion has been around the question of what level of suspicion, if any, must be reached before administrators or security personnel can search a student’s locker — which is, technically, the school’s property, not the student’s.
However the officials of Alpine, and all other schools, resolve their debate, they would be well advised to include their students in both the formulation and the exercise of the policy. Not just out of courtesy or a desire to make things run smoothly, but in the knowledge that their entire school, especially at the high school level, is a laboratory for the inculcation of the values of a citizen in a free, law-abiding society.
The last thing we want is a generation of high school graduates who have been taught to sit still for the abrogation of their constitutional rights. Even in places and situations where those rights may not be as firm as some might argue.
Read more in the Salt Lake Tribune.