Safety Law News for January 31, 2018

  • In Florida, the Florida District Court of Appeal applied the exigent circumstances exception to affirm the conviction of a shooter who seriously injured a student by firing several bullets towards a bus stop near an elementary school.  Evidence used in the conviction was discovered through the warrantless search of the abandoned cell phone.  [Barton v. State]
  • In Ohio, three Toledo Police Department officers, including a school resource officer, are using vlogs, or video blogs to improve relations with the community through social media use.  Each vlog will focus on a particular unit or topic and can be viewed on YouTube or the department’s other social media accounts.

Safety Law News for January 25, 2018

  • In Missouri, the United States District Court ruled that the following factors would determine whether handcuffing a student was a violation of the Fourth Amendment:  whether the student was out of control when the officer arrived, whether student attempted to flee, whether student continued to scream in the hallway with officer, whether student posed a safety threat in the hallway, and how long he was in handcuffs.  [K.W.P. v. Kansas City Public Schools]
  • In Kentucky, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that an award of $589,000 in compensatory damages and a punitive damages award of $500,000 was not excessive when a police officer wrongfully arrested a school counselor.  The court found that the officer’s conduct evinced clear indifference to or reckless disregard for counselor’s health and safety. [Wesley v. Campbell]

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.