B.C. v. Plumas Unified School District

192 F.3d 1260 (1999)

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B.C. v. Plumas Unified School District

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
192 F.3d 1260 (1999)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

The high school that B.C. (plaintiff) attended decided to use a drug-sniffing dog on campus. There was no drug problem or crisis, and school officials (defendants) had no suspicions that any individual student was using drugs. The move was seemingly preventive. School officials instructed B.C. and his classmates to exit their classroom. As the students walked past the dog that was stationed a few feet away from them, the dog alerted to one student, signaling the smell of drugs. The students were directed to wait outside in a covered snack-bar area for five to 10 minutes while the dog sniffed bags and other items in the classroom. As the students returned to the class, the dog alerted to the same student. No drugs were found that day on campus. B.C. sued the school district (defendant) and its officials, alleging an unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The school officials argued that dog sniffing was not a search under the Fourth Amendment or, if it was a search, the search was reasonable to deter drug use on campus; even if the search was unreasonable, the officials were entitled to qualified immunity; and there had been no seizure of persons or property. The district court granted the school officials’ motion for summary judgment. B.C. appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pregerson, J.)

Concurrence (Brunetti, J.)

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