The Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Student Privacy

In a decision that will impact upon all schools across Canada, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold student privacy:

“Canadian police can’t conduct random searches in schools, even at a principal’s invitation, because such measures violate students’ rights to privacy, the country’s highest court ruled.”

link: Canadian Police Barred From Random School Searches by Top Court

There has been a growing perception that students in schools should have no expectation of privacy. This is the argument that is part of the justification for surveillance cameras on school grounds and within schools. Further, there are policing actions that is a growing trend in schools. One example is random drug tests. Again, there is the presumption that there is no expectation of privacy and that the drug testing will provide justification for students to prevent experimentation with drugs. It is also a means whereby the students can prove that they are not using illicit drugs.

The ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada affirms that students indeed are entitled, by law, to privacy. Furthermore, although a quaint notion, there is the presumption of innocence. The court ruling is a clear affirmation that students do have civil rights.

Catherine Forsythe
Director of Operations

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