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Supreme Court rules that School Resource Officers are police officers, not elgible for warrant exception

The Washington state Supreme Court ruled today that School Resource Officers are police offers and therefore do not have the same jurisdiction a teacher or principal may have when it comes to discipline and searching students.

This ruling came from the case State v. Meneese in which a Bellevue student appealed his conviction for carrying an air gun and marijuana to school after being searched by a School Resource Officer. According to the opinion, “the question on appeal is whether the school search exception to the warrant requirement applies to the search conducted by the school resource officer (SRO).” Under current law, school officials can conduct a school search without a warrant. The Court ruled in favor of the student, saying that since the SRO is a “a fully commissioned, uniformed, law enforcement officer employed by the Bellevue Police Department” and that before conducting the search the SRO handcuffed and arrested the student, the officer was not eligible for a warrant exception.

Read the Washington Supreme Court opinion here.

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