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In the school context, the legality of a search depends simply on the reasonableness, under all the circumstances, of the search. A search of a student is reasonable if it was justified at its inception, and its scope is reasonably related to its objectives. In-school searches are usually based upon some level of individualized suspicion; probable cause, however, is not a necessary predicate for an in-school search. Strict adherence to the requirement that searches be based on probable cause would undercut the substantial need of teachers and administrators for freedom to maintain order in the schools.

This same standard applies to all Fourth Amendment claims involving students in schools, from searches of lockers to random drug testing.


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