PAAC’s final debate of 2009


Chris Wolf

Foothill students participate in PAAC's last debate of 2009 about search and seizure. Credit: Sharon Choi/ The Foothill Dragon Press.
Foothill students participate in PAAC’s last debate of 2009 about search and seizure. Credit: Sharon Choi/ The Foothill Dragon Press.

On Thursday, December 17th, PAAC continued its series on students’ rights with a debate on Search and Seizure. The debate was a supplement the lecture given by Lieutenant Fenwick the previous week.

While the turnout was slightly smaller than normal for this meeting, Thursday’s debate still brought interesting topics to discussion. Due to the complexity of this topic, Co-President Ian Mariani began the debate by presenting certain scenarios to the attendees to prevent assumptions or vague statements.

A main focus of the debate was the issue of reasonable suspicion at school. If there is any reasonable suspicion of a student breaking the rules, then the administration is authorized to search a student’s possessions including their locker and car. Of course, this begs the question, “What is reasonable?” Students discussed this topic for a while bringing up issues such as privacy and the fewer rights granted to minors.

Participants also discussed their rights when outside of a school situation. As some may not know, the school administration has the right to punish a student for their actions elsewhere. Some feel this is completely immoral, that the school should not be involved. Others say that if their actions could potentially cause problems, then the administration is justified in their enforcement of school rules.

In addition to these topics, last year’s “drug bust” was also heavily debated. As many returning students know, last year’s situation dealt greatly with search and seizure rights, sparking much controversy. Many students felt that the administration’s actions were not justified, that students seemed to be “guilty until proven innocent.”

This debate was PAAC’s last meeting of 2009, it was a good way to wrap up the year with a topic that interested many. PAAC will meet again after Winter Break to continue this series.

What do you think?