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Posted on April 17th, 2014, by

Your responsibilities as a teacher regarding random student locker searches without permission are to do it. According to laws, teachers have the right to search the student lockers if they think that there are good reasons for doing this. For instance, if a student told you that saw other student with a knife or drugs. If a teacher do nothing, he or she will be responsible for what that student does with that drugs or knife. However, the students also have their lawful rights. They have the right for reasonable privacy. Things they have in their lockers are private in relation to the administration and other students. But if there is suspicion of unlawful things or other objects, the administration is permitted to conduct a research of the locker.

Nevertheless, as a teacher you cannot limit the students’ rights, but you have to adhere to the state’s laws, as well as the school’s rules. You should stand up for the student, if you do not believe in his or her guilt. As a teacher you have the rights and responsibilities towards your students. You can be held responsible for students’ wellbeing if “foreseeability of such harm” exists (Johnson, Musial, Hall, Gollnick, & Dupuis, 2005, p. 113).

Additionally, you are responsible for their safety in the classroom. If you know that a student brings a knife into the classroom, you should immediately report it. However, the teacher’s responsibilities to keep students safe can infringe on the students’ rights. For example, in order to maintain the students’ safety on a trip, the teacher has to limit their rights. In a student’s mind it is unfair to infringe on students’ rights for the sake of the learning environment, but as a teacher it is a fair action. Sometimes the students can do unreasonable actions, and the teacher, in such a case, is responsible for their safety.

Giving an example how a teacher’s responsibilities limit the students’ rights, it is possible to mention about the situation when the police researched a student’s locker. There was a rumor that he wrote letters to someone about drugs. The student was not in place when his locker was researched and he heard about it from his classmates. However, the police did not find anything that might bring harm to a student’s friends. Despite this fact, the above situation caused a student a lot of stress and limited his rights.

The student’s rights might override the teacher’s responsibility to maintain a safe environment. For example, students can bring alcohol on a field trip. In such a case, their privacy infringes on the teacher’s responsibility to maintain a safe learning environment because he or she cannot protect the students from using alcohol.


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