What If I’m Under 18?
What if I’m under 18?
Minors too have the right to remain silent; you do not have to talk to the police, probation officers, or school officials. If you are detained at a community detention facility or Juvenile Hall, you normally must be released to a parent or guardian. If charges are filed against you, you have the right to have a lawyer appointed to represent you at no cost. Your rights at school: Public school students have the First Amendment right to politically organize at school by passing out leaflets, holding meetings, publishing independent newspapers, etc., just so long as those activities do not disrupt classes. Students can be suspended or expelled from school only if they violate the law or disrupt school activities. You have the right to a hearing, with your parents and an attorney present, before being suspended or expelled.
Students can have their backpacks and lockers searched by school officials at school if they have “reasonable suspicion” that you are involved in criminal activity, carrying drugs, weapons, etc. Reasonable suspicion means they have to have a specific reason, but in reality, doesn’t give you much protection. Do not consent to the police or school officials searching your property, but do not physically resist or you may face criminal charges.
Students can now be stopped and questioned by school officials at school even without reasonable suspicion. If you are not in class you can be stopped and questioned as to where you are going and why, but they should not stop and question you for engaging in legally protected political activity or because of your ethnicity or religion.