Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kentucky Supreme Court considering Miranda warning for students

This from The Courier-Journal:
Principals in Kentucky may soon have to worry about reading students their rights — in addition to ensuring they know how to read and write.

The Kentucky Supreme Court is considering a case from Nelson County that could require school officials to give the Miranda warning — you have the right to remain silent and anything you say can and will be used against you — when questioning a student with a school resource officer present.
Principals frequently work in concert with such officers — there are 254 sworn police working in Kentucky schools, according to the Kentucky Center for School Safety, and up to 60 percent of schools nationwide have one on campus.

Miranda warnings are required when a subject is in custody — when a suspect thinks he’s not free to leave — and at issue is whether a student grilled in the principal’s inherently fits that description.

Opponents of requiring the warnings in school say administrators have more important things to do.
Simple investigations would be hamstrung and schools would be less safe if principals, every time they questions a student, “must look into a crystal ball and predict, ‘This could lead to criminal charges, I have to Mirandize this child,’’’ said Wayne Young, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators.

But Rebecca Ballard DiLoreto, litigation director for the Kentucky-based Children’s Law Center, said principals routinely “orchestrate” interrogations with police to “streamline” prosecution of students, making it only fair that they be warned of their right to remain silent and obtain counsel.

The Nelson County case, which was argued Oct. 18 and could be decided later this month, began in 2009 when a high school teacher found an empty prescription pain pill bottle on a restroom floor with a student’s name on it.

School resource officer Stephen Campbell, an armed deputy sheriff, and Nelson County Assistant Principal Mike Glass, escorted that student to Glass’ office, where he was questioned with the door closed...


Anonymous said...

We are moving toward operational absurdity - Restraint regulations which place educators in potential litgation if they engage or fail to engage student physical misbehavior and now Miranda rights for students who may be questioned by a principal while a police officer is present. If that gains traction, next will be search warants for lockers and right for an attorney during teacher-parent conferences. For goodness sake just let folks do their jobs and quit using the extreme outlier as the basis for throwing practical sense out the window.

Anonymous said...

I think this is all part of an effort to create new positions for unemployed lawyers at each school - school attorney. Kind of crazy to think that over the last few years we have increasingly felt the need to place armed officers in school to address student safety but now we are considering hampering their efforts.

I guess if this gets support, principals just need to be sure to keep the resource officers out of earshot when questioning students.