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Greetings from the Kansas Supreme Court and the Kansas Bar Association. The theme for this edition of Law Wise is How the Law Affects Students' Rights and Safety.
Calendar of Events
Recent Developments in the Law Affect Kansas Kids: AMBER Alerts & Drug Testing
Kansas AMBER Plan
According to Kansas Attorney General Carla Stovall, the Kansas AMBER Plan was officially launched on October 1, 2002. The Kansas AMBER Plan is a voluntary effort between law enforcement, the broadcast media, and emergency management to activate urgent bulletins in the event of a serious child abduction.
AMBER provides a way to get information out to the public quickly. The speed of information is important because the first hours a child is missing are the most crucial. AMBER is credited with helping save the lives of at least 31 children across the country.
The AMBER Plan stands for "America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response," and is named in honor of Amber Hagerman, who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas in 1996.
The AMBER Plan requires the assistance of the public to make it work. When an AMBER Alert is issued, it is vital that we listen to the information, be on the lookout, and contact the local authorities or 1-800-KSCRIME if someone that fits the description is spotted.
For more information on the Kansas AMBER Plan, visit the Kansas Attorney General's website or www.ksamber.org. For additional national information, go to www.missingkids.com.
Drug Testing in Schools Goes Back to the U.S. Supreme Court
In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Vernonia v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646 (1995), ruling that the Fourth Amendment permitted a school policy that prevented students from participating in interscholastic sports unless they agree to random drug testing.
In 2002, the Supreme Court, in Board of Ed. of I.S.D. No. 92 v. Earls, No. 01-332 (U.S. 2002), revisited this issue when two students and their parents challenged a Tecumseh, Oklahoma, drug testing policy which required all students to consent to urinalysis testing for drugs in order to participate in any extracurricular activity. This challenge differed from Vernonia because the drug testing here applied to members of groups like Future Farmers of America, the marching band, and the Academic Team, not just athletes.
The interest at stake in this case is the students' Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. In the public school context, the Court has stated that while students "do not shed their constitutional rights" at the schoolhouse door, "special needs" do exist for the school to be keep the children safe while in their custody.
The Court followed the rationale in Vernonia, stating that not all drug testing policies are valid, and conducted a fact-specific balancing test of the intrusion on the students' right against the promotion of legitimate governmental interests.
The Court concluded that the students involved in extracurricular activities had a limited expectation of privacy, as they must adhere to many rules that students as a whole do not, such as rules in place for each club or activity and the rules of the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association. Further, the Court stated that these students are often involved in off-campus travel and overnight stays, which heightens the school's interest in monitoring these students for the safety of other students and to encourage saying no to drugs.
Considering the constitutionality of the program in the context of the public school's custodial responsibilities, the court held that the drug testing of Tecumseh students who participate in extracurricular activities effectively serves the School District's interest in protecting the safety and health of its students.
Every spring, the Kansas Bar Association Young Lawyer's Division (KBA YLD) offers a statewide mock trial competition to high school students. This year's tournament will offer several regionals across the state, culminating in a state tournament in which the winner will advance to the national tournament.
The National High School Mock Trial competition began in 1984, and offered students simulated courtroom experience with real lawyers available who will volunteer to help coach their teams. Additionally, lawyers and law professionals will act as the judge and jury during the tournaments. Students in the debate, forensics, government, speech, drama or gifted programs would find this tournament worthwhile and exciting.
Teams for this competition consist of six to eight students and the school can enter as many teams as they would like. Registration fees are minimal, starting at $50.00 for the first team, with $25.00 for each additional team. However, in no event is any school required to pay more that $200.00, no matter the number of teams entered.
The regional tournaments will take place on February 28 - March 1, 2003, and the state tournament will occur on March 21-22, 2003. Registration forms will be available in the near future on the internet, along with a question-and-answer message board, FAQ's, helpful information and several other features which we will be developing. More information will be available in future issues of Law Wise.
Eric G. Kraft is the director for the tournament this year and can be reached via telephone at (913) 451-5109 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact him or Btissam Touijer, KBA Public Services Director at (785) 234-5696 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ABA has a free newsletter that contains information on law-related education. Law Matters, which reports on developments, ideas, programs, and resources in the field of public education about the law, is published three times each year (winter, summer, fall). For information on ordering, contact the ABA at (312) 988-5735 or email@example.com.
The Law-Related Education Inventory has the following items which might be useful in discussing student related safety and privacy issues:
The Law-Related Education Inventory has many resources to help teach about law-related topics. To order a catalog, call Btissam Touijer at the Kansas Bar Association, (785) 234-5696. The Kansas Bar Association and the lawyers in your community sponsor the Law-Related Education Inventory. The clearinghouse will mail free copies of law-related posters, games, mock trials, booklets, lesson plans, and other aids. It is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The director of the Teachers College Resource Center, which houses the Law-Related Education Inventory, Marla Darby, can be reached at Darbymar@esumail.emporia.edu/
Street Law, the Supreme Court Historical Society, and Glencoe/McGraw-Hill have announced the availability of a new online resource designed to help teachers and students learn about the 15 United States Supreme Court cases mandated by state standards. The web site - www.landmarkcases.org - provides background information for each case (at three different reading levels), activities for each case, and a lesson plan guide that suggests which activities to use depending on the amount of time the teacher can devote to that case.
Cases include Marbury v. Madison, McCullough v. Maryland, Gibbons v. Ogden; race discrimination cases such as Dred Scott, Plessy and Brown; criminal cases, including Mapp, Gideon and Miranda; and school cases such as Tinker, TLO and Hazelwood. A portion of the web site links to Findlaw's materials on important constitutional concepts such as equal protection, separation of powers, federalism, due process, judicial review, and the commerce clause.
A separate site with answer to the problems/activities is being developed for teachers. Further information can be obtained via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grade Level: All
Copy of Do You Remember Activity Sheet (located at end of lesson and on the web at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/teachers/activities/2306_aliens_01.html).
1. It can be difficult to convince people they did not have an experience once a memory is implanted in their minds. To show students how this might occur, use this activity.
2. Before class, arrange for two people (a faculty member and a student) from outside the class to stage a brief and confusing interruption at the beginning of your class.
You may use the following situation: The adult chases the student into the room. The student is carrying a baseball bat or a tennis racket. The adult has a sock partially showing from a pocket. Neither person is carrying a ball. Both people shout at each other about something related to a baseball or tennis game and then leave.
3. Once they have left, ask students six to eight questions about the disturbance, including a few leading questions about someone carrying a ball or having a hat in a pocket.
4. After you ask the questions, resume class. At the end of class or the next day, tell students you now want them to write a story about the disturbance.
5. Divide the class into groups and distribute the activity sheet to help students recall facts.
6. Have each group present its story and answer questions from the class to determine which details are accurate. How do students' accounts differ? How easy or hard was it for them to embellish inadvertently or to add details that were not true and why?
Most students will be able to list the major details of the disturbance, such as who entered the room first and the main idea of each person's statements. Listing minor details, such as specific clothing worn or words used, may be more difficult to remember accurately. The questions in the chart that assume a hat and a ball were part of the scene might influence some students to describe details that were not present. Most students will probably find that their memories of time, in terms of the exact time of the event and the length of the incident, may also be difficult to remember. Researchers have also found that once an idea is planted into someone's memory, a person will embellish upon the contrived fact when recalling the event at a later time.
**Student Activity Sheet**
DO YOU REMEMBER?
Sometimes when people remember events that happened in the past, their initial memories are vague, but as they discuss their memories with others, they are often able to provide more details.
Use the questions that follow to help you recall the facts of the disturbance in your class. Then write a story of the experience with your group that you all believe is completely accurate. Include as many details as possible when you tell the story. Then share your story with the rest of the class. Your classmates will ask you questions to help you work out the details.
What time did the incident happen?
How long did the incident last?
|Person 1 -Student||Person 2 -Adult|
|Who entered the room first?|
|Who spoke first?|
|What clothes was each
|What type of hat was
the adult carrying in his pocket?
|Who said what to whom?|
|Why might the student
have been carrying a ball?
Your group's story:
What parts of your story are you most confident about? Why? Least confident about? Why?
This lesson plan has been modified from the PBS website at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/teachers/activities/2306_aliens.html.
Grade Level: High school
Students will express their opinions about drug testing in schools.
Students will examine arguments in favor of, and against, drug testing in schools.
Students will consider and discuss consequences of a policy for or against drug testing in schools.
One class period (approximately 50 minutes)
Tell students they will have an opportunity to "take a stand" on the issue of drug testing in schools. Write the following statement on the board: "Drug testing should be allowed in schools." Draw a line underneath, with polar positions printed at each end of the line. For example:
Drug testing should be allowed in schools.
Strongly in favor Strongly against
Give students a few minutes to decide individually where their opinion about the statement "Drug testing should be allowed in schools" falls on the spectrum. Ask them to think of at least two reasons why they feel as they do.
Ask approximately 10 students to go up to the board and take a stand along the line at the point that corresponds with their opinion. Explain that if they are undecided, they should stand in the middle. (Remind them that even the "undecideds" should have a reason for why they are undecided.)
Once students are arranged along the continuum, ask them to clarify their position. Probe them for what exactly they mean. For example, ask those at the "strongly in favor" end whether they think everyone should be tested, or only those who act suspiciously. Or, are there some groups, like student athletes or students with disciplinary histories, who should be randomly tested? Do those at the other end think no one should ever be tested, in any circumstances?
As students describe their positions, fill in the positions along the line with more descriptive words. For example:
Strongly in Favor Strongly Against
Test Everyone Random Testing of Everyone Test Suspicious Only Never Test
As students clarify and describe their positions, tell them that they are free to move to the point along the line that most accurately describes their opinion, and that it is okay to change positions, as they listen to each other.
At this point, ask students to give reasons for their opinions. Encourage discussion from the rest of the class by asking if anyone else in the class supports that position, and if they have any additional reasons to support that view. Again, encourage students to move if they are swayed by arguments given by other students. Encourage a dialogue between students at either end of the continuum, and with students sitting down. To encourage serious consideration of opposing points of view, ask students what argument opposite from theirs is most persuasive or makes them think twice.
Spend about 25 minutes on this activity.
Ask the students to sit down. Continue the discussion by asking about consequences of different positions along the continuum. For example, what would happen if schools decided to test all students for drugs? Would drug use be reduced?
If time permits, have students write a paragraph about their position and reasons.
The most recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in this area is Board of Ed. of I.S.D. No. 92 v. Earls, No. 01-332 (U.S. 2002). The Court held that drug testing of Tecumseh students who participate in extracurricular activities effectively serves the School District's interest in protecting the safety and health of its students, extending the Vernonia analysis to the area of extracurricular activities and not just athletics. For a more detailed analysis of this case, see the article titled Recent Developments in the Law Affect Kansas Kids: AMBER Alerts & Drug Testing above.
In Vernonia v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646 (1995), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment permitted a school policy that prevented students from participating in interscholastic sports unless they agree to random drug testing. In this case, James Acton, who was a seventh grader during the 1991-92 school year, applied to be on football team. He was given a drug-test consent form for him and his parents to sign. This was done for every student trying out for sports. No one suspected James of using drugs. He and his parents refused to sign the form and he was then suspended from interscholastic athletics. The Actons sued the school district. However, the Supreme Court ruled against the Actons, stating that students have a reduced expectation of privacy and should expect intrusions on their normal rights and privileges when they choose to participate in high school athletics. The Court used a balancing test. It weighed the students' privacy interests against the interests of the school district in providing a drug-free environment. The Court also pointed out the athletes regularly change clothes in front of each other and can expect to have less privacy. Because the Actons had also claimed that the drug testing violated the Oregon constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back to the circuit court to decide whether the testing program violates the search and seizure protections of the Oregon constitution.
In Willis v. Anderson Community School Corporation, 158 F.3d 415 (7th Cir. Ind. 1998), a federal circuit court ruled that a policy allowing drug testing for any high school student who is suspended for fighting to be a violation of the 4th Amendment, and indicated that a suspicion-based system was required for drug testing occasioned by fighting.
In Todd v. Rush County Sch., 139 F. 3d 571 (7th Cir. Ind. 1998), cert. denied, Todd v. Rush County Sch. 142 L. Ed. 2d 53 (1998), the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a drug testing program under which all students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities must consent to random and suspicionless urine testing for alcohol, unlawful drug, and cigarette usage. Extracurricular activities include athletic teams, Student Council, Foreign Language Clubs, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Farmers of America Officers and the Library Club. The court indicated that the linchpin of this drug testing program is to protect the health of the students involved. The court stated, "the plague of illicit drug use which currently threatens our nation's schools adds a major dimension to the difficulties the schools face in fulfilling their purpose--the education of our children. If the schools are to survive and prosper, school administrators must have reasonable means at their disposal to deter conduct which substantially disrupts the school environment."
Source: Adapted from lesson written by the Street Law, Inc. and updated by Law Wise in 2002. The lesson can be found on the web at http://www.abanet.org/publiced/lawday/schools/lessons/hs_drugs.html.
**We are beginning a new segment of Law Wise to showcase activities going on in communities around Kansas. Our first activity is described below. If you are involved in an activity dealing with law-related education and would like for it to be included in Law Wise, please contact Ron, Btissam, or Crystal at the numbers listed on the last page of this edition of Law Wise.
Johnson County First Amendment Foundation Sponsors First Annual Banned Book Essay Contest!
The Johnson County First Amendment Foundation, a component fund if the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, is sponsoring its first annual Banned Books Essay Contest for full time students enrolled in an accredited school in Johnson County in grade levels 10,11, and 12 for the 2002-2003 school year. Registration materials were mailed to Johnson County's public schools. The Foundation will provide two $1,000 cash awards to the contest winners in each of the three grade levels, totaling $6,000 in total cash awards.
Each student must have a faculty sponsor. Faculty sponsors must be full-time classroom teachers, counselors, or librarians for the same high school as the student submitting the essay. Each faculty member may sponsor a maximum of ten entries.
Students entering the contest will read and defend one of the five following books, taken from a list of over ninety books challenged, restricted, removed or banned as reported in the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom: Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.
The Shook, Hardy & Bacon law firm has established the Johnson County First Amendment Foundation to promote a better understanding among Kansas students, particularly in Johnson County, of First Amendment and other constitutional rights that ensure a free society's freedom to write, freedom to publish, and freedom to read. The firm has made a charitable contribution of $200,000 to the Foundation. This amount represents the fees which were paid by the Olathe School District as a result of this firm's successful representation of a group of students in a First Amendment case.
Several years ago, the Overland Park office of Shook, Hardy & Bacon represented a number of high school students in a lawsuit against the Olathe School District arising from the School District's removal of an award-winning book, Annie On my Mind, from school library shelves. Annie On My Mind, by Nancy Garden, who testified at the trial, tells the fictional story of a romantic relationship between two high school girls. The school librarians, at the school district's request, reviewed Annie On My Mind to determine whether it was clearly appropriate for high school students. The librarians gave the book a favorable review and concluded the book was appropriate for high school students. The court ruled that the school District's reason for removing the book, notwithstanding the librarians' favorable review, was because the School District disagreed with the ideas expressed in the book.
After a trial, Judge VanBebber of the Federal District of Kansas ruled that the School District violated the students' First Amendment Rights as well as their rights under the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights when they removed Annie On My Mind from the school library. The District Court ordered Annie On My Mind returned to school libraries and made available under the usual terms and conditions of library materials in the School District, and also ordered the School District to pay the students attorneys' fees.
The Advisory Committee for the Johnson County First Amendment Foundation consists of Richard Luckert, Lorretta Wood, Celia Garrett, and Steve Bledsoe - a teacher, a librarian, a member of the Johnson County Bar Association, and a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union, respectively. The Advisory Committee will make recommendations each year for the use of the income from the fund in promoting a better understanding by high school students of First Amendment and other constitutional rights.
The Kansas Court of Appeals, a ten-member, intermediate appellate court sits in three-judge panels. The court is pleased to have students attend the hearings. The Court of Appeals will next be hearing cases in Topeka, Kansas City, KS, and Wichita in November. The hearings will be Nov. 19-20 in the Court of Appeals Courtroom in Topeka at the Judicial Center. The Kansas City hearings will be in the Wyandotte County Courthouse. Two panels will hear arguments in Wichita in both the Sedgwick County Courthouse and the historic Sedgwick County courthouse across the street. The Kansas Supreme Court is the highest court in the state, and includes seven members. Students are also welcome at oral arguments before the Supreme Court. The high court holds its hearings only in Topeka. The Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments during the week beginning Dec. 4, 2002; and Jan. 21, Mar. 3, Apr. 14, and May 27, 2003. If you have any questions concerning the Kansas appellate courts, or if you would like to bring your class to either the Kansas Supreme Court or the Kansas Court of Appeals, teachers may contact Ron Keefover, Education and Information Officer of the Office of Judicial Administration, 301 West 10th Avenue, Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507, (785) 296-4872, for assistance. You can also contact Mr. Keefover via email at email@example.com.
Law Wise is published by the Kansas Bar Association during the school year. The Kansas Bar Foundation, with Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts funding, provides support for this publication. Published free, on request, for teachers or anyone interested in law-related education, it is edited by Crystal Marietta, Pittsburg, (620) 231-5620. For further information about any projects or articles, contact Ron Keefover, Education and Information Officer of the Office of Judicial Administration, Topeka, (785) 296-4872, or Btissam Touijer, Public Services Director of the Kansas Bar Association, Topeka (785) 234-5696. Law Wise is printed at the Kansas Bar Association, 1200 Southwest Harrison, P.O. Box 1037, Topeka, Kansas 66601-1037.