2015 Summer Institute — Resources for Teachers

Do students have Fourth Amendment protections at school?

Has technology redefined “an expectation of privacy?”

June 29-July 1, 2015

Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri

Come join us for our 15th Annual Summer Institute and come away with a greater understanding of the law and with creative and dynamic ways to teach constitutional law to your students.

  • Our 2015 scholar is Professor Frank Bowman of the University of Missouri School of Law. Bowman was a huge hit with teachers at the 2014 Law Forum.
  •  We are extremely lucky to have Nisa Chavkin, executive director of the highly acclaimed Constitutional Rights Foundation of Chicago. Chavkin provides amazing pedagogy.

PART 1 - The Fourth Amendment


Fourth Amendment Scenarios

At the airport, you must go through a magnetic imaging machine or comply with a pat down search before boarding your plane. You have not been accused of any crime, and your name is not on any government watch list.

On a bus, a police officer wants to open your bag and search your luggage. You have not been accused of any crime.

The police want to go through your garbage once it has been placed at the curb. An informant has alleged that you are engaged in “suspicious activity,” but you have not been accused of any crime.

The police want to go through your personal papers in your home. An informant has reported seeing you meet at night with strangers who seem “suspicious.” You are not accused of any crime.

The police pull you over for speeding. A police officer wants to search the trunk of your car. There are no outstanding warrants for your arrest.

The police have learned that you have a legal firearm and have made multiple trips to a hardware store and a garden supply store. They want to search your garage and basement. You have a license for the firearm and are a member of a civil liberties group but are not accused of any crime.

The principal has heard that some students are being cyberbullied. She seizes your cell phone and wants to reads your text messages.

The police have evidence that suggests you are growing marijuana somewhere on your multi-acre property. They rent a plane to fly over your property and take reconnaissance photos.


Fourth Amendment Text

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


Fourth Amendment Value



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