HARTFORD — Connecticut’s Supreme Court has dismissed a couple’s lawsuit over a random sweep with a drug-sniffing dog in their daughter’s high school, letting stand a lower court ruling that says the practice is legal.
But the justices never had a chance to address the core questions about students’ constitutional protections and whether the surprise sweeps infringe on parents’ rights to guide their children’s upbringing.
The high court said it had to dismiss Harold and Marianne Burbank’s 2009 lawsuit because their daughter graduated last spring from Canton High School, giving them no legal standing to challenge school policies that no longer affect them.
The court’s unanimous decision, dated Wednesday, will be published this month in the Connecticut Law Journal.
The dismissal lets stand a lower court ruling that said school officials have the right and obligation to eliminate drugs and contraband, and that students don’t have the same privacy expectations on school property as elsewhere.
It also said that for constitutional purposes, a random “sweep” isn’t the same as a “search,” for which particular standards apply under the Fourth Amendment. Several courts nationwide and the U.S. Supreme Court have made similar rulings over the years.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
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