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    School visitors screened in front office

    Date: 10.18.10 | by Judge Tom.

    In one Texas school district, visitors are required to submit identification for a background check before being allowed access to secure areas such as hallways and classrooms. The Lake Travis Independent School District adopted the policy after a sex offender entered one of its schools and exposed himself to a child.

    The policy requires visitors to show a state identification card or driver’s license. Then a school staff member checks the information against all U.S. sex offender databases.

    Photo by Simon Shek (Flickr)

    Parents of one student opposed the new policy arguing that it infringed on their fundamental right to raise and educate their child and that it constituted an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. What do you think? Is requiring identification of school visitors followed by an Internet check an intrusive act? Should it be allowed in the interest of student safety?

    The policy was upheld in 2009 by a federal district court whose decision was appealed. In September, 2010, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals* in New Orleans unanimously upheld the policy. Recognizing a parent’s right to direct their children’s education, that right doesn’t extend to visiting all areas of a school. The court held that the school has a compelling interest in determining whether school visitors are sex offenders.

    *Meadows v. Lake Travis Independent School District [5th Cir.Ct.App. 2010].

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    • Askthejudge.info
      Mon, 18 Oct 2010 at 04:39

      Federal appellate court rules in favor of school requiring identification from all visitors before allowing them… http://fb.me/yKFzNjdl