Strip Searches In New York Schools | Zero Tolerance in the NYC school system |

Are Strip Searches Allowed in New York Schools?

Increasing violence and other illegal activity occurring in our schools has seen the proliferation of “ZERO TOLERANCE” policies in many New York schools and in entire school districts around our nation. These policies, of necessity, very often involve the search of a student by New York school officials who seek to find out if the prohibited item, whether a weapon or an illegal drug, is in the student’s possession.

The question arises as to when such a search is permissible and, even more seriously, how intrusive may that search become. In June, 2009, the United States Supreme Court decided a case involving a 13 year old school girl (Susan). Another student had accused Susan of giving her drugs. The suspicion was that Susan had brought prescription strength ibuprofen to school. School officials (two females) ordered Susan to strip to her underwear, and then pull her upper and lower undergarments away from her body to see if the suspected drug was on Susan’s person. The judge that wrote the opinion for the court called this search an “…embarrassing, frightening and humiliating search…..” The decision of the Court did not give school officials a clear cut guideline to determine if a strip search is permissible. It rather set forth some guidelines that may well continue to make it very difficult for school officials in the future to decide whether or not a strip search would run afoul of the law. The guidelines the Court seemed to establish as factors:
–the extent of the danger of the contraband in question (for example: ibuprofen vs. heroin);
–how well founded is the suspicion that the contraband is hidden in an intimate place.

As Justice Souter wrote in deciding that this particular search was Constitutionally ILLEGAL:: “The content of the suspicion failed to match the degree of the intrusion” especially in light of the “nature and limited threat of the specific drugs.”Some school districts, such as the New York City Department of Education, simplify matters and ban such strip searches under any and all circumstances. Do keep in mind that as far as searches in general (not just strip searches) are concerned, the Constitutional requirements to allow a search by school officials (“a moderate chance of finding evidence of wrongdoing”) are LESS demanding than those that must be followed by the police (“Probable Cause”). Even an attempt to simplify this area of law, as we tried to do here, indicates the potential complexity involved when dealing with searches of all kinds. The services of a well seasoned New York City attorney, knowledgeable through experience in this difficult area of law, at as early a stage as possible, is invaluable in protecting your rights.


Another Construction Worker Dies Operating Heavy Machinery and falling from height

As Reported by the New York Times, A construction worker died after falling 125 feet when a tall construction lift toppled and struck a downtown Philadelphia apartment building, the authorities said. The investigators are looking to see if the construction worker who fell, was properly harnessed and all safety procedures were followed.  According to witnesses the machine operated by the construction work toppled when a city sidewalk grate gave way.

A Notice of Claim has been filed.

Experienced construction accident attorneys should immediately begin to investigate the procedures that we in place, the safety equipment as well as the construction equipment, and immediately question all witnesses.


Do’s & Dont’s of Choosing a Lawyer

Your choice of an attorney to represent you in a case will have an effect on you that may be hard to imagine at the time that you make the choice.    After all, locating an attorney can be as quick as finding a name in the telephone book or catching an ad on TV. But beware! You will most probably have to live with that choice for a long time, and the wrong choice can be as painful to you as a bad toothache–except that your choice of a lawyer goes on and on.

Without question, the very best source for choosing an attorney is by way of a friend or relative’s recommendation. Even better is if you used an attorney yourself previously and were very satisfied. Nothing can beat the recommendation of a satisfied and happy former client. The MOST common complaint against lawyers is that they either do not return phone calls, or the client cannot get through to their lawyer. See what the experience of your friend or relative was in this regard.

Often, however, it is not that easy. You may not be able to find someone who either experienced the same problem you are trying to deal with, or may not have been satisfied with the lawyer they used. What then?

First, what NOT to do. Do not even think about hiring an attorney whom you have never met before but shows up at your door unannounced. He may have heard about your accident from some source and decided to “chase” after your case. This is illegal and unethical. Just imagine that if an attorney, sworn to uphold the law, shows such contempt for the law and the standards of his profession, what kind of treatment you can expect ! And even more so, never, ever agree to meet with an attorney recommended by an individual you have never before met but gives you a lawyer’s card in the hospital or at an accident scene. This, too, is blatantly illegal, and attorneys that must resort to this type of solicitation are to be shunned, if  not prosecuted.

Today, however, there are many legitimate sources to find, evaluate and finally choose someone to represent  you in what could be one of the most important decisions you will have to make. Advertising is legitimate. Certainly one of the best sources is the use of the internet which affords you the opportunity to find out much more about an attorney you are thinking of hiring then was ever available in the past. Websites are good  beginnings, and you should never hesitate to ask an attorney questions about himself or his background. A little careful screening in the beginning can avoid a lot of heartache later.

Posted by New York Personal Injury Attorney Steve Orlow