Three Republican members of Congress have introduced a bill designed to make it easier for teachers to search lockers and students on public school grounds for drugs, weapons, and other dangerous materials.
The proposed Student and Teacher Safety Act is sponsored by Reps. Geoff Davis of Kentucky, Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois, and John R. “Randy” Kuhl Jr. of New York. Under the bill, schools that failed to allow teachers to conduct such searches would risk losing federal Safe Schools and Citizenship Education funds.
The bill notes that under U.S. Supreme Court precedents, public school searches of students must be based on “reasonable suspicion.” The bill would seek to guarantee that searches by full-time teachers or other school officials would be deemed reasonable if they stemmed from “colorable suspicion based on professional experience and judgment.”
The National Education Association has sent a letter to House members in support of the bill, saying that it would “help promote a safe school environment by requiring districts to have in place policies addressing reasonable student searches.”
The bill has been referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Amanda Keating, the press secretary for Rep. Davis, said the lawmakers were hopeful of seeing floor action.
A version of this article appeared in the September 20, 2006 edition of Education Week