Thursday, December 18, 2008

Knox County School Violates Fourth Amendment

Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Carter Middle School in Knox County, TN, has violated my and my son's Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable seizure of personal property. His cell phone was confiscated by the School Gestapo and has been sent to the County's "central security office," whatever the hell that is. I understand that cell phones and so on are a distraction at school and that students are not supposed to use them during school hours. However, my son was not using his phone. It fell out of his jacket pocket, and because it had been unintentionally left on, a teacher confiscated it and sent it to the office. I went in this morning to pick it up, and that's when they told me it had been sent off because this was his "second offense." The first was when he had my video camera at school which was also confiscated and demanded that I delete any "unauthorized" photos/videos he might have taken at school. What country is this anyway? Seems like Nazi Germany or Totalitarian USSR. Outrageous!

I was furious but did not make a scene. I've found it is unnecessary to do that because I am capable of expressing my displeasure with my eyes only.

Now I have this dilemma. Do I just do as they expect and cower to their unreasonable policies? This is surely what they want everyone to do... they want us to be intimidated and comply with their oppressive methods. They don't want us to question this erosion of our fundamental rights and protections. That cell phone is our personal property which they have very unreasonably seized and impounded. Clearly and obviously, their actions are way beyond a reasonable response to the "offense."

I think that goes against the Eighth Amendment:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Yeah, I really do think that requiring me to drive all the way down to some office near the old Rule High School, which is in the middle of one of the worst and most dangerous public housing projects in the city, to reclaim my wrongfully seized personal property is an excessive, cruel, and unusual punishment for my son's trivial mistake.

I need a Constitutional attorney. I swear. If people can sue McDonald's for hot coffee and so forth, then I should be able to sue the Knox County Schools for violating our Fourth and Eighth Amendment Constitutional rights. I think we need to take this all the way to the Supreme Court.


dhammett said...

I don't know about lawsuits, but at a minimum you should be able to have them turn the phone directly over to you at the school. One of my daughters was caught texting for the second time during the last school year and I had to go to the school to retrieve her phone. That's a lot different than taking your property to a remote location.

Does the school have a written policy, made available to you, that states the phone will be removed from the school to a holding area? If they don't return the phone, it sounds like the school board should be contacted at a miminum. Then maybe the media?

You're right...the school is a government agency and it seems like a prima facie violation of the 4th amendment. Good luck with this. Let us know how it turns out.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

I think President Bush declared the Fourth Amendment null and void. We are at war, you know. The Constitution is suspended until further notice.

dhammett said...

Wow, Pig. The guy's almost out of office and you still can't stop piling on. Give it a rest. It's not like there's much hope for a clean administration coming in. Hello Illinois! You gonna jump on Osama, er Obama, too?

Rae Ann said...

dh, thanks, and sorry for the delay in updating. Busy time of year and all. I'm working on a follow-up about the farce of picking up the phone. But I'm glad you agree that sending the phone to a remote location is too much. I'm not sure if there is a written policy or if I signed something at the beginning of the year about this. I certainly wasn't expecting that I was signing away our Constitutional rights...

The Guy said...

I'm pretty sure that no contract or signed agreement can legally remove any Constitutional rights, even committing a crime can only remove some of the rights guaranteed in the bills and amendments attached there to.

Quite clearly the school policy is wrong and must be corrected. Finding the person directly responsible for this policy is probably a good first step.