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Published: Wednesday, 3/20/2002

Sylvania school board lets plan for search lapse


The proposal to post signs warning that vehicles are subject to search on Sylvania school property was dropped recently after a recommendation from Charles Atkins, interim superintendent.

The controversial issue was slowed at a January meeting after Mark Luetke, president of the Sylvania board of education, brought up a 1998 school policy. That policy gives building administrators the authority to search students, their property, or their cars if there is reasonable suspicion or evidence of a crime or a violation of school rules.

The policy the board was considering would have extended the search to cars belonging to those other than students.

Mr. Atkins told the board at its most recent meeting that after discussing the issue with the two high school principals it was agreed to keep the policy as is.

Mr. Atkins said the current policy “lets us do what we need to do.''

The current policy, Mr. Atkins said, allows for the search of a student's car on school property and suggests that if there is a suspicion concerning a non-student's car that the police should be contacted.

He said that it may be that some of those pushing for the warning signs simply wanted students to understand that contraband on campuses won't be tolerated.

There was no discussion of the issue at Monday night's meeting, and Mr. Luetke said no motion was necessary in letting the issue die.

Mr. Luetke added that if the interim superintendent and the principals are satisfied with the current policy, “that's good enough for me.''

Jeffrey Gamso, an attorney and state vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union, told board members in January that no matter what the school policy is, there can be constitutional problems with any search that takes place without a warrant.

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