The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled against a Muscatine high schooler who challenged the legality of a school locker search. In December of 2001, Muscatine high school officials told students in advance they were to participate in a “locker clean-up” and that their lockers would be opened so a faculty member could inspect its contents. Marzel Jones and about 300 other students didn’t show up for the locker searches, so the next day, two school officials checked their lockers, and found a bag of pot in the coat in Marzel’s locker. The principal then summoned Marzel to his locker, asked him to open it, and asked if there was anything in it that would get him in trouble. When the principal took the coat out, Marzel grabbed it and ran, but the principal caught up with the student and held him ’til cops arrived to charge him with possession of marijuana. Marzel’s attorneys claimed the search was a violation of the student’s constitutional rights, but the Iowa Supreme Court has ruled the search fell within the school’s authority to maintain a controlled and disciplined environment.
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