A while later, I met the kid. It turns out he'd cut his 6th period class. He says the assistant principal I'd seen with him had used that as justification to ask a deputy to search the car. I'm really having a hard time finding the logical connection from "cut class" to "probable cause to search a car." While I know, as wrong as it is, that public school students have no rights as far as their school staff and administration goes, they still have rights within the criminal justice system. The school has the right to search the kid, his locker, his belongings, and his car, and use what they find in internal discipline procedures against him (or turn it over to authorities for criminal action.) But I can't see how a law enforcement officer can conduct the same search himself.
The kid, and I'm inclined to agree with him, chalks it up to an assistant principal's power trip. That bugs me, I never liked it when I had to deal with it, I don't like seeing that it still goes on.
But what bothers me most are the extended circumstances that led to this. This kid's a habitual truant, which I won't condone. He admits to having cut first period during the fall semester about twenty times.
He got a few detentions from the school. That was it. A parent related that her son had racked up seventeen before she heard anything from the school.
By comparison, at North, your first cut was free--all you got was a phone call home to your parents. The second got you a Saturday, the third was a drop from the class with an F. Game over.
I'm utterly shocked. How can an authority expect people to follow its rules, when its (lax) enforcement of them sends the message that the rules aren't important. How can they expect the people in their charge to mend their ways when they treat those people with so little respect as to have zero credibility?