Safety Law News for January 19, 2018

  • In Illinois, the Illinois Court of Appeals upheld the power of the juvenile court to expand conditions of probation for an adjudicated delinquent minor to include the removal of any references to gangs, guns, or drugs on the minor’s social media accounts.  [In re R.H.]
  • In Georgia, the United States District Court ruled that the search of a student’s cell phone without a warrant by school officials did not violate the Fourth Amendment.  “Though technology has changed since T.L.O. was handed down, a school official’s search of a student’s cell phone on school property and during the school day still fits within the framework announced in T.L.O.” [Jackson v. McCurry]
  • In New York, the United States District Court ruled that school officials did not violate the rights of a special needs student by twice suspending him for more than ten days without any kind of pre-suspension hearing.  The student was suspended for engaging in “extremely violent and unsafe behavior.”  The court held that because the student was placed in an alternative learning program, he “has not been denied entitlement to public education.”  [Patrick v. Success Academy]
  • In Florida, the District Court of Appeal of Florida overruled the adjudication of a student for violating a state law that makes it “unlawful for any person … [k]nowingly to disrupt or interfere with the lawful administration or functions of any educational institution.” Florida Statutes Section 877.13(1)(a).  The court held that a fight in a school hallway lasting less than one minute is not the type of “flagrant or provocative behavior that rises to the level of specific intent to disrupt the function of the school.”  [M.S. v. State of Florida]

Safety Law News for January 17, 2018

  • In Tennessee, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, juvenile court officials, judges, and district attorneys are reacting to the Report by the Blue-Ribbon Task Force on Juvenile Justice.  The Report calls for a major overhaul in the juvenile justice system.  Included in the recommendations are (1) improved data collection and inter-agency information sharing (2) a significant reduction in the ability of school resource officers and school principals to make referrals to juvenile court.
  • In Wisconsin, the Madison School Board and the Madison Police Department are preparing responses to a year-long analysis of the Police Department authorized by the City Council.  The Report was designed to respond, in part, to opposition to police in the schools.  Recommendations include “soft” uniforms for school-based officers, improving communications and data sharing between the agencies and the public; and implementing specialized training for officers assigned to the schools.

Safety Law News for January 11, 2018

  • In Pennsylvania, the Bellefonte Area School Board unanimously approved a safety management application called SchoolGuard.  SchoolGuard will give all faculty and staff members who choose to install the application on their personal smartphones the ability to immediately notify law enforcement of incidents that take place on school grounds.

Safety Law News for January 3, 2018

  • In Arizona, human trafficking of children is increasing rapidly.  The Arizona Human Trafficking Council says that online devices, games, and applications are the gateway to human trafficking.  The Council has instituted several programs to protect child victims from exploitation, including the training of Arizona school resource officers.
  • In Michigan, the Governor signed into law House Bill 5126 on the seclusion and restraint of students in schools.  The law allows school resource officers to utilize their training to resolve incidents at school that may arise.  The sponsor of the legislation said that, “clarity was needed to make certain our school resource officers were not limited in their response to incidents that occur within a school.”
  • In Texas, a new threat assessment protocol is being implemented in the Keller Independent School District.  The policy is called “Break the Silence,” which includes the motto, “If you see it, if you hear it, don’t spread it.  Report it.”  It is designed to stop campus violence before it starts and provide help to troubled students.

Safety Law News for December 19, 2017

  • In Pennsylvania, the Wallenpaupack SRO program started four and a half years ago.  Using the TRIAD approach, in the first two years, school-related criminal incidents dropped 42% and other investigations dropped 33%.  Statistics have remained static in the following two years.
  • In North Dakota, Wilton school administrators and staff are receiving training on the use of Narcan, the nasal form of the drug naloxone that can be administered in the event of a known or suspected drug overdose.

Safety Law News for December 15, 2017

  • In Wisconsin, school resource officers in the Sheboygan School District will begin wearing body cameras.  The SRO can use the cameras to record all enforcement and investigative incidents and, also whenever contact becomes adversarial.    Footage captured by the cameras would be considered a “law enforcement unit record” and therefore exempt from FERPA.  USDOE regulations say that images of students captured on video devices that are maintained by the school’s law enforcement unit are not considered education records under FERPA.
  • In Texas, a lawsuit filed against the city of Southlake and a school resource officer fired for handcuffing an autistic student has been dismissed by a federal judge.  The court ruled that the officer’s actions were reasonable under the circumstances.