Oak Hill High School prevention resource officer explains when and why searching students is allowed

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OAK HILL, WV (WVNS) – Once students walk through the doors at Oak Hill High School safety is a top priority. Which is why, under school policy, Prevention Resource Officers, like Lt. Jess McMullen with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, oversee random searches conducted by school administrators.

“It’s nothing out of the ordinary. It’s nothing uncommon,” Lt. McMullen said. “We actually bring K-9s in every so often and do random checks and random searches. It’s basically to keep everyone honest. “

These searches can also require students to enter the building through metal detectors, submit to being wanded and to the occasional bag check. Lt. Mcmullin added random searches do not, in any way, violate students’ rights to privacy; however, there is a fine line between probable cause and privacy.

“As law enforcement, we still have to go by the fourth amendment,” Lt. McMullen explained. “There’s a search and seizure law that we have to abide by. For me to search a kid, I have to have probable cause just as anyone out here on the street. But inside the building with administrators and teachers, they don’t have that. It’s as if they are home. “

It is critical to note, these educators completely trust their students, but with school threats becoming more and more common, searches are to ensure no one is in harm’s way.

“I want all these kids to go home to their parents safe. I have kids in this county school system and I want my kids to come home safe,” Lt. McMullen said.

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