The opinion of the court was delivered by: Moran, District Judge.
This case stems from the warrantless search of the student
plaintiff on school property. It raises several interesting
questions under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which
The right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon
probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and
particularly describing the place to be searched, and
the persons or things to be seized.
At about 10:30 a.m. on April 29, 1982, Joan Baukus, dean of
students at Reavis High School, received an anonymous phone call.
The caller identified herself as living in the Sahs area of
Stickney, Illinois. The caller said that she had discovered her
daughter with marijuana cigarettes purchased from James
Lafollette, a student at Reavis. The caller said Lafollette kept
marijuana in a Marlboro box in his school locker, and that the
box was in the locker that day. Baukus tried unsuccessfully to
persuade the caller to reveal her name or leave a phone number.
Baukus then had Lafollette open his locker. There, as promised,
was a Marlboro box containing marijuana cigarettes.
At about 12:30 p.m. the same day, Baukus received another phone
call from a woman Baukus believed to have been the earlier
anonymous tipster, although she was not sure. This second caller
identified herself as living in the Sahs area. She said she had
discovered her daughter in possession of marijuana cigarettes.
The caller indicated that her daughter had purchased the
marijuana from James Lafollette and the plaintiff, Michael
Martens. The caller said Martens kept drug paraphernalia in the
lining of his coat and that he might have paraphernalia in his
possession that day. Baukus was again unsuccessful in persuading
the caller to reveal her name or phone number.
At about 1:15 p.m. Baukus brought Martens to her office and
confronted him with the substance of the phone call. Martens
denied he had a controlled substance in his possession and
refused to consent to a search until his parents were contacted.
Baukus was unable to reach either of Martens' parents over the
next 45 minutes.
At this point Officer Hentig, a Cook County Sheriff's deputy,
came into Baukus' office and spoke to Martin. Hentig was at the
school on another matter. There is no indication that he supplied
any evidence implicating Martens or directed school officials to
detain Martens for questioning. He told Martens that based on his
experience it would be better to cooperate with school officials.
Hentig then asked Martens to empty his pockets and Martens
complied. A pipe in Martens possession was later found to have
contained marijuana residue.
Martens was suspended from school on May 10, 1982, pending a
hearing before the Board of Education on May 18, 1982. At that
hearing Martens was represented by counsel, presented witnesses
and cross examined adverse witnesses. The transcript of the
hearing covers 23 single-spaced pages. At the conclusion of the
hearing the Board decided to expel Martens for the remainder of
the school year. This order was not entered on Martens' permanent
record and was not revealed to colleges or prospective employers.
Martens faced no criminal charges as a result of the search. At
the time of the expulsion Martens was at the end of his junior
year. Martens claims, tardily, that the expulsion kept him from
graduating a semester early, as he had planned.
Martens' complaint for a temporary restraining order has long
since become an action for damages. Martens claims, first, that
the search violated his Fourth Amendment rights and, second, that
the illegally seized evidence was improperly admitted at the
expulsion hearing before the school board. This court delayed
ruling on defendant's motion for summary judgment until after the
Supreme Court handed down its decision in New Jersey v. T.L.O.,
___ U.S. ___, 105 S.Ct. 733, 83 L.Ed.2d 720 (1985).
Young people are not stripped of their constitutional rights
upon entering the schoolhouse. The Supreme Court has recognized
that students are protected by the proscriptions of the First,
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. See Tinker v. Des Moines
Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503, 89 S.Ct.
733, 21 L.Ed.2d 731 (1969) (First Amendment), Ingraham v. Wright,
430 U.S. 651, 97 S.Ct. 1401, 51 L.Ed.2d 711 (1977) (Eighth
Amendment), Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, 95 S.Ct. 729, 42 L.Ed.2d
725 (1975) (Fourteenth Amendment). In T.L.O. the Supreme Court
rejected the argument that school administrators act in loco
parentis and are not subject to the dictates of the Fourth
Amendment. The Court held that the Fourth Amendment does apply to
searches by school officials. 105 S.Ct. at 740-41.
While honoring the notion that students have Fourth Amendment
rights, the T.L.O. Court limited those rights in order to
accommodate the school's need to preserve order and a proper
educational environment. First, the Court held that school
officials need not obtain a warrant before searching a student.
105 S.Ct. at 743. According to the Court, the warrant requirement
is unsuited to the school environment because it "would unduly
interfere with the maintenance of the swift and informal
disciplinary procedures needed in the schools." Id.
As a second concession to school officialdom, the T.L.O. Court
rejected "probable cause" as the touchstone for determining the
legality of school searches. It held that "the legality of a
search of a student should depend simply on the reasonableness,
under all the circumstances, of the search." 105 S.Ct. at 743-44.
In determining the reasonableness of a search, a court must
consider, first, whether the search was justified at its
inception and, second, whether the scope of the search was
reasonably related to the circumstances that prompted the search.
Id. at 744. The difference in the quantum of information required
under the probable cause and reasonableness standards is quite
unclear, although the ...