The state Board of Education is on solid ground in allowing public school officials to make sure that students’ lockers are not used as caches for weapons, illicit drugs or other contraband. Its decision to use dogs to sniff for drugs could be helpful as long as they don’t sniff students themselves in violation of their privacy rights.
The board approved the new rules in an 8-4 vote in favor of allowing random searches of lockers. The rule change stipulates that “students should assume that their lockers are subject to opening and inspection (and external dog sniffs) any time with or without cause.”
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Hawaii in its jurisdiction, indicated in a 1999 ruling that it recognizes that “the sniffing of inanimate and unattended objects” is legal, differing from warrantless searches of students themselves.
Read more in the Honolulu Star Bulletin.