Did police and school administration violate my son's civil rights?? Can I sue on behalf of my son??

Asked 3 months ago - Fremont, CA

BOTH sons have been victim of their middle school. they have been searched with out parental consent, questioned without consent, forced to sign statements - all without a parent present, forced to sign into social media so it could be searched on school property and forced to unlock their phones so it could be searched.

Statements they made AFTER they asked for their mother were used against one to get him expelled.

I want to know if their legal rights were broken and I want to sue the school, the administration, the district and the police.

Additional information

1. Police forced the searches of the cell phones, not the school.
2. My sons friend was missing, and the police forced him to sign into his Facebook to see if there was a conversation between the boy and my son.
3. My son was not arrested or has criminal charges, therefore does not need an attorney.
4. My son got in trouble and they called the police then the police questioned him after he asked for his mother, he was told he could not speak to me.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Golnar Sargeant

    Contributor Level 19

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . More facts are needed. Constitutional rights are very limited in schools. If this is a private school, even more limited. The school is not law enforcement, and therefore, they do not need parental consent to search or question the student. Schools have wide powers over cell phones, and are even allowed to confiscate them for the whole semester if they want. I don't understand the social media comment or the being forced to sign statement comments at all. What do the police have to do with anything? You say you want to sue them but have not provided any facts about cops in your question. For a lawsuit, you need damages. You can complain to the school/district, get other parents on board, and take it up the chain. I don't see a lawsuit based on what you present. If your child is under threat of criminal action the get him a criminal defense attorney. A consultation with an Educational Rights attorney would be helpful to you, and he/she can also deal with the school.

    A school is not a court law, so the rules of investigation and evidence, innocent until proven guilty etc. do not apply. The school can rely on hearsay, flimsy circumstantial evidence, and allegations to suspend/expel. When a student is subject to arrest and is being interrogated by an actual police officer he should have his parent present. The school is not law enforcement and has no obligation to stop questioning the kid just because he asks for his mother.

    We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute... more
  2. Michelle Alissa Ball

    Contributor Level 11

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unfortunately, once a student is under the authority of the schools, school officials may question that student. They do not need parental consent for a student to develop a statement. They need "reasonable suspicion" to search a student or the student can consent to the search. Parents may caution their child not to answer questions, write statements, and to repeat polite requests to call their parent, even handing school authorities a pre-printed card with the parents instructions to try to ward off questioning, but there are no guarantees they will cease. The school may take a refusal to answer as "defiance" but at times this may be better than providing a complete admission to a crime or other information that may be held against the student. Whether to answer or not is a tough matter to evaluate until a student is in the moment or the allegations are known.

    As far as the police, this may be an issue to explore with a constitutional attorney or perhaps the Rutherford Institute.

    Best of luck,
    Michelle Ball
    Law Office of Michelle Ball
    California Education Attorney advocating for the rights of parents and students since 1995

    PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE NOR FORM AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. NOTHING... more
  3. John Douglas Lloyd

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    5

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . There are some serious issues in this post. You should speak with a civil rights attorney in your area to see what can be done to remedy this situation.

    Good luck.

    Disclaimer: No attorney client privilege is established by receiving an answer to your question on Avvo. This... more
  4. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Without damages, a lawsuit would be fruitless

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