Should teachers be allowed to search student backpacks?

By Paul Silli

What was designed to hold textbooks and school supplies now seems to carry things like knives, candy and MP3 players. Today many students use backpacks to store items that often have nothing to do with their education. But should  teachers have the right to search student backpacks?

It is a tough question! If we want to teach our kids about respect, trust and responsibilities — so they grow to be valuable citizens in society, how do we accomplish this while maintaining their right to privacy (although they are under 18)? This pertains to the 4th Amendment.

If a student is accused of bringing a weapon or maybe on a lighter note — an electronic device that is not allowed on campus and a teacher is told about it… what should be the protocol? It is a teacher’s responsibility to provide a safe, learning environment. However, how can we effectively teach students about privacy laws if we violate their property?

Reaction time! What do you think?

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127 Responses to “Should teachers be allowed to search student backpacks?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Great thoughts. This would be good as a journal starter. I think teachers should be allowed (and are) search student bookbags; especially if it was thought there was a weapon carried.

  2. Leastytaw Says:

    True words, some truthful words dude. Made my day.

  3. gatorball Says:

    Thanks for you comments on this blog. I am looking forward to reading more thoughts about this debatable subject. ;)

  4. Levi Williamson Says:

    I think if they want to have the odasity to search a students bag then it looks like they cant trust the student.

  5. isaias Says:

    Those are some deep words man.So touching.

  6. Mani Says:

    i dont think that teachers should be able to search students backpack because it loses trust with the students.

  7. isaias Says:

    Seriously I dont think teachers should search backpacks.

  8. demetrius Says:

    That was a very touching story but i don’t think it should be aloud. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Eli Says:

    I do not think that educators should be aloud to search students backpacks. Teachers will lose trust in students and whatever students have in there backpacks is their buissness

  10. michael Says:

    i dont think you should be able to search students because it could loose trust with the students

  11. chris Says:

    i say no, they are not allowed to becasuse the teachers will lose the trust by the students and no student will never feel trusted ever again… even if a student is accused of electronics they shouldnt get in trouble cause… HELLO its inside their backback and not inside of their hands in class like common just chill! now about weapons its a whole diffrent story, just let it go and watch that student carefully to see if he really does have a weapon or not. or are other students trying to get that student in trouble

  12. juan Says:

    they shouldnt cheek that is sombodys persanall space what if we were to cheek in your stuff

  13. David S. Says:

    I think the teachers should not look threw kids backpacks because they bought it. The only one that should look threw our backpacks is our parents.

  14. Auttumn Says:

    I think that teachers shouldn’t be able to check our backpacks because we need our privacy. Teachers wouldn’t want anyone going thru their stuff…right?

  15. marissa Says:

    No i dont think they schould go thorugh your backpacks cuz we need to have are privacy. Pus they should need to have something to go on.

  16. btovar Says:

    this souldent happen a backpack is personal. ( we dont hide stuff in there)

    • C.J.S Says:

      ARE YOU KIDDING? Some kids do hide stuff in their bags!!!! Like… BAD stuff! Weapons that could be turned on other students, drugs that will make them go crazy and be traded around the school! I’m a student! You guys are CRAZY!!!

  17. Kayla Says:

    i think that teachers should not be able to go through students backpacks. Reason being is, teachers have there stuff that they do not want us to touch, so why should we allow them to go through our stuff even if they asked us first?

    • C.J.S Says:

      Well I think that teachers should be able to go through our backpacks. Reason is, teachers have stuff they don’t want us to touch because they have the authority to say so. We should allow the to go through our stuff if they are school officials that are trained in searching our stuff! It’s for the common good of the student body! Yes! They should search our stuff! And asking us if they can search our bags? It’s just a courtesy. They can anyway.

  18. Shayla:] Says:

    Well Honestly It Has Nothing To Do With The Teachers But, If There Is A Serious Threat Of Course Because Nobody Should Be Harmed For Something That Could Have Been Taken Care Of. But, If They Just Want To Search It For No Reason They Shouldn’t Beeh Allowed To Search The Personal Things Of A Student Because Backpacks Are Meant To Hold Anything They Are Not Just Used For School These Days. They Are Much Needed In Other Aspects Of Life. It Is Not A Very Good Way To Solve The Issue Because It Will Cause The kids To Hide Their Stuff Somewhere Else And Maybe Even Trigger Something More Illegal.
    -:]LaLa

  19. David G.O. Says:

    no teachers should not be alowed to search through our backpacks because they dont always need to know whats in there and i would rather have a medal detecter than let a teacher search my backpack and why not just do that insted of having it searched and i would rather check it my self

  20. hector Says:

    i dont think teachers shouldnt look through students stuff only if they might have a weapon

  21. Tatiana Says:

    I think teacher shouldnt be allowed to search the students backpacks. i think its the child personal space, the students dont look through their teachers things.. actually students arent even allowed to go behind a teacher desk.
    i think just to trust the students and teach them responsibility and you wont have much of a problem.

    - Tati–>♥

  22. kyle nokes Says:

    Teachers should not be allowed to search student backpacks. Because if you let them that is a violation to our privacy

  23. Rachel Says:

    Should Teachers Beable to Search SDtudents Backpacks
    1. I think that students should be able to have things unrelated to school in their backpacks.
    2. I think somethings are dangerous in school, but i still think there is another allternitive to searching backpacks.
    3. I believe this “rule” goes againt the 4th Amendment, but I also think the teachers are trying to do the right thing. Im undecided.

  24. jenna b Says:

    my thoughts on this is that the teachers shouldnt be able to look thruogh backpacks its an anvation of privicy and all though i know why teachers would have this thought, they shouldnt be able to do this unleas they want the students going through their desks

  25. bibha Says:

    yes,i think teacher should be allowed to search student backpacks,and especially if they think/know they have wepons,because its not only for them its also for people around them!!.

  26. tracee Says:

    I think the backpack seach is not write. so i think that the teachers should not cheak. and the teachers should not do it.

  27. james Says:

    Ture a student could have a gun or something that you need to be 18 or above in there backpack

  28. Rhaeanna Says:

    i dont think it should be allowed because teachers bring that stuff too and they wouldnt think its cool if wwe started to look through their items.

  29. Heather Says:

    I think it’s yes and no. My reason behind yes is because there is too many students who have been taking knives or other weapons to school because they think it’s cool. It’s not. Danger, is what it is. My reason for no is because students may have private personal belongings, in which is not necessary for others to look at. Especially teachers. Just my personal opinion. However, if teachers do decide to go through our backpacks, they should notify us beforehand. But, notifying us could make those who do take weapons to school, leave them at home for that specific day, then bring them back to school the next. So either way it has both a bad and good side.

  30. Krista Says:

    I think that it depends entirely on the situation. If there is good enough reasoning for searching the student’s backpack, such as a drug dog sniffing something out or a student/teacher actually saw a dangerous item, then yes, a search would be entirely in order. However, I believe that possession of a cell phone or an MP3 player is not grounds for an invasion of the student’s privacy. Furthermore, I believe that a teacher must have the student’s permission to search through their personal things as a common courtesy. So, yes and no- a teacher should be allowed to search a student backpack only depending on the situation.

  31. Paola Burrola Says:

    i still think that teachers shouldn’t searched every single students backpacks just on the ones that have been in trouble or suspishus

  32. Marcus Says:

    I think teachers shouldn’t be able to look through student’s backpack because it is taking away our privacy. Also students don’t go looking through the teacher’s desk, so why should they be allowed to look through our things even if we aren’t adults.

  33. Alysia Says:

    It may be the teacher’s reponsiblity to provide a safe learning environment, but students still do have to have their privacy. Teacher’s wouldn’t like it much if the principles went through their things now would they? So why would the students want their stuff searched just because they “might” possibly have something in their backpack?

  34. Anonymus Says:

    I believe teachers do not have the right to search anyone’s bag because there could be personal items in there that aren’t anyone’s business to go through. If a student has an mp3, ipod, cell phone, etc in their bag, it is no one’s business. It’s better that it’s in their bag then that it’s in their hand so they can text and listen to music in class. Students could have personal items in their bags like medication. If there is a reliable claim about a student having a dangerous weapon in their bag, a metal detector can be used.

  35. meagan Says:

    why should they take on parental dutiess?

  36. lauren Says:

    i think that’s the most stupidest thing ive ever heard!!! that’a ridiculous…why would u even do that! uugggghhh

  37. ruth Says:

    i think teachers searching through student’s personal belongings, under any cercumstances, shouldn’t be aloud. …

  38. Ananomyous Says:

    NOoooOooOOoOoOoOOOOoOOOOoooooOOooOo

  39. isabella r Says:

    no because thats a invasion of privisy

  40. priya Says:

    yess they shouldd

  41. Tim H. Says:

    NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. Anonymous Says:

    I think the teacher should only go through the student backpack if the student gives the teacher permission

  43. Savanna R. Says:

    no because it’s our backpacks but most of us don’t have anything to hide and we do kinda need our privacy. would teachers like it if we went through your stuff you wouldn’y like it so we wouldn’t either.

  44. unique r Says:

    i think they shouldnt becaause there can be persanal stuff in there

  45. Marissa Says:

    I think teachers should not have the right to loook inside students back packs unless they have a valid reason,such as suspecting drugs or other inappropriate things in it.but if they dont have proof then they should definetly not have the right.

  46. Daniela R Says:

    i think searching through a students backp pack shouldn really be aloud unless like the dean comes with the dog or something like that.
    because i mean we students dont go looking throught the teachers desk.
    and our back packs are liek our personal things. an dour teachers dont need to be going throught them unless its really an emergency

  47. Bailee P. Says:

    I Think They Should be Able To Look Through Students Backpacks Unless They Have Permission To Look Through Other Peoples Personal Belongings!….

  48. Savanna R. Says:

    no because we kinda need our privacy and how would you guys like it if we went through your stuff. you wouldn’t like it so neither would we plz don’t search through our backpacks we don’t have anything to hide anyway

  49. james Says:

    no because of others peoples privacy and i wouldent want any one to look through my back pack i would thinks its invading someones elses privacy also its a very bad idea because some one could sue you that hapend at my other school!

  50. Tim H. Says:

    THIS IS BECAUSE THEY WILL VIOLATE OUR PRIVACY

  51. Urja Says:

    naww. if a teacher is able to look through a students stuff, a student should be able to look through a teachers stuff;.

  52. fernando R. Says:

    i dont think the teachers should check are backpacks cause its our suff… and its our privicy :)…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. :(

  53. marcus P Says:

    Nope!!
    no way a teacher should be able to go trough any backpack!
    for starters its an invasion of privacey.
    in the event a student is acussed of possion of drugs,alcahool,weapons ECT,. it should be handled by a school campous police officer, not a teacher.
    also some students have items in there backpacks that they dont want other people to see for certain reasons…
    also i think its garabage!!!

  54. Natalia P. Says:

    nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  55. melissa r Says:

    i dont think so because if we wanted them to see we would show them,

  56. justin pineira Says:

    I don’t think teachers should. Unless they have any type of weapon, then yea. Otherwise, teachers shouldn’t because they don’t let students behind their desks. It wouldn’t be fair.

  57. Alex Says:

    No i dont think teachers should have the right to search the students bags without reasonable ideas or thoughts. If a dog accuses your bag of drugs they should let you see if you can find what would do it… if not then they should hav the right to search the bag.

  58. cesar Says:

    i think that teachers should not be allowed to go thought r stof because thats r pivacy

  59. Alex O. Says:

    I did the No i dont think….

  60. Alex P Says:

    I do think that its okay for teachers to search student backpacks-to an extent. If a teacher has suspicion that something dangerous may be in the students backpack, then they are obligied to check it. But if a teacher is checking a students backpack everyday, and its becoming a habit, then there is a problem.

    • Alex P Says:

      but if a teacher is searching the backpack and finds something such as a cell phone or Ipod and confescates it, then they have no right to do that, and something needs to be done. Now if the cellphone or Ipod started going off while the search was happening, then they could confiscate it, but if it was off, then really they have no right to take anything unless its harmful to others/illegal etc. etc.

  61. Alex I P Says:

    I would like for teachers’ to search in students backpacks but I also don’t, because students need their privacy. So I am on both sides with it. I really liked it though:)

  62. jose Says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  63. Edith R. Says:

    that is an invation of privacy.

  64. Daniela O Says:

    I think teachers shouldnt be aloud to search through our backpacks because thats our private stuff and we have the right to have our privacy. the only reason teachers should search through backpack is when the think or know someone has something that can harm others then they can check because its for the safety of others.

  65. Alex O. Says:

    NO i dont think teachers have the rite to go threw ones personal items under the curcumstances… So if they are aloud to go threw our personals does that mean we can do the same…. if not i think this should not be permited unless they are 100% sure… if they find nothing wrong then we should be aloud to do the same to theirs. If they are found to be correct then they reasoning was accepted.

  66. Isai Pacheco Says:

    I think that it depends entirely on the situation. backpacks shouldn’t be serched without the consent of our parents if a student/teacher actually saw a dangerous item, then yes, a search would be entirely in order. However, I believe that possession of a cell phone or an MP3 player shouldn’t even be taken away if it was in your backpack because it was our personal property that they shouldn’t be putting there hands on. I also think they shouldn’t be searched if they didn’t have a reason and also us kids have parents who have lawyers that would sue ur butts for it and also if we would have drugs i think it would be a good reason to but i still think we need a consent of parents to search our bag because i think it’s wrong and prohibits our privacy

  67. Brandon Says:

    i think they should not be allowed unless the kid is suspected of having a weapon or drugs

  68. unanamus Says:

    i don’t think so because its our stuff and it’s not yours

  69. unanamus Says:

    unless they have a wepon dont

  70. unanamus Says:

    no because its ours

  71. unanamus Says:

    nope nope nope and nope nnnnnnnnnnnooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!

  72. sandra Says:

    No techers should not search our backpack because I is none of thier business and plus we got to do what we got to do cause some ppl have to have what they have for self protection!!

    • ray Says:

      i dont think anyone can be SO important that they would need to be packing heat at any time during a school day, let alone at all?!. why would u b so defensive bout it unless u were one of the people smuggling stuff in n’ out

  73. shabir Says:

    this was my school speach thanks mate

  74. bob marley likes dick Says:

    this is gonna help me with me essay thannkks (:

  75. ray Says:

    we can’t check their bags

  76. Libby Says:

    well they can because you wont have anything to hide.
    but say if there were private things in there like tampons ect..

  77. Anonymous Says:

    i think that teachers arnt allowed to search students bag

  78. rylando Says:

    teachers arnt allowed to look in teachers bag this is what the govement says>

  79. AnGeL.sAd.GuRl Says:

    i think tat teacher have no rite to look in student bag cuz its no of there buisness

  80. Ceymore Says:

    I’ll make this simple for the last couple that couldn’t spell, or even put words together.

    I searched a bookbag, I believe that I had reasonable cause, and I found several knives and a gun.

    Gee, no one asked or screamed about privacy, just they were glad their little angel didn’t get blown away!

  81. CAPSLOCK4LYFE Says:

    DIS IIS LYKE DA BESST ISH EVA, PIZZA 4EVER

  82. sea Says:

    i am a school student and today i was talking to my best mate about something very private that i didnt want everyone to no bout and we couldn’t have any privacy so we decided that we would pass it all through notes so i write it on a not for my friend to read she read it and commented on it and i had finished al my school work so i pulled out the note and i started to fold it up into small pieces and the teacher tapped my arm and told me to give her the note and i told her no and she tapped me again and i said no and she snatched the note out of my hand and read it and i got taken down to the principal because i knew to much about student rights and teacher rights and they decided to use a past problem that i ahd that causes me alot of grief what do i do

  83. Anonymous Says:

    yes because we dont no if the student is a criminal or a wanted midget fugitive

  84. chris b. Says:

    Well, Me as well as many kids carry pocket knifes, but we don’t PLAN to hurt anyone, it is for personel protection, a teacher looking through your personel should be illigal, we can’t look through there stuff, can we?

  85. chris b. Says:

    Oh, and six words pretty much sums this conversation up, teachers, our stuff is nunya buisness.

  86. chris b. Says:

    one more thing, all for the 4th ammendment say I!

  87. Anonymous Says:

    OF COURSE SCHOOL OFFICIALS SHOULD SEARCH STUDENTS BAGS!!! I mean, why not? Everyday when students get dropped off at school the school officials are now their “parents for the day,” with the wonderful rights of keeping their students safe. If they need to keep us(I’m a student) safe, then well- yah, I want them to search my bag! If they think that my friend has a knife in her bag, I want them to search it to protect me and protect everyone around me(the student body) from themselves and each other. Have any of you read about the Snohomish stabbing incident???

  88. Bailey Says:

    No.Students may have personal items in their bags, especially females. The student may also have madical problems that they are embarassed about. It is not right and should be banned.

  89. Anonymous Says:

    Teachers Get out of my Backpack!

  90. jopsh Says:

    they should be able toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  91. frank Says:

    ing awatch and they checked my book bareatard i got acused of steal a watch

  92. Anonymous Says:

    they shouldn’t be able to search students

  93. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t think they should because first they always tell kids not to look trough other kids stuff and to keep their hands to their own stuff. Well teachers are suppose to set examples for kids to follow and when they do it kids think oh hey now it is ok if i do it because a teacher did it but they told us not to and they still did it so… This was from a kids point.


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