Columbus Backpack Search Pits School Safety Against Privacy Rights

Mar 1, 2017

The Ohio Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday over the constitutionality of a Columbus student's backpack search that authorities say led first to the discovery of bullets and later to a gun.

At issue before the high court is whether a second search of the backpack violated the student's privacy rights, which are generally weaker inside school walls.

The court scheduled arguments for Wednesday morning.

Prosecutors in Franklin County appealed after two lower courts tossed out the evidence because of the second search.

A security official at Whetstone High School searched the backpack in 2013 after it was found on a bus. The official conducted a second search after he recalled the student had alleged gang ties. That search led to the discovery of 13 bullets.

A third search led to the finding of a gun in another bag the student was carrying.