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Name: In re Lisa G.
Case #: D044398
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/14/2004

The minor’s high school teacher refused to let her leave the classroom to go to the bathroom, and the minor caused a small disruption. She left the classroom without permission, and without her purse, and the teacher locked her out. The teacher took the purse and put it on her desk for the minor’s own protection. When the teacher went to write a disciplinary referral, she looked in the purse for the minor’s identification, because she had forgotten her name and identification number. She saw a knife, and called campus security. The minor’s suppression motion was denied, and she pleaded guilty to carrying a knife on school grounds. The appellate court here reversed the denial of the suppression motion. The teacher admitted she opened the purse to find an identification document, and not because she had any suspicion that the minor was engaged in any prohibited activities. Mere disruptive behavior does not authorize a school official to rummage through a student’s personal belongings. The fact that the search was limited at the inception to searching for identification did not justify it because the minor did not refuse a request to produce identification.