Andrea Craig. During class, Lisa became disruptive by continually
asking if she could go to the bathroom.
Lisa apparently threatened to relieve herself in the classroom if
she was not permitted to go.
Craig told her to stay where she was, not knowing that Lisa had a
medical condition and that the nurse's office was supposed to have
told all of Lisa's teachers that she should be excused to go to the
bathroom whenever she made the request. This matter came to a head
when Lisa walked toward the classroom door and Craig put her hand on
the door handle.
Lisa then started cursing at Craig and moved the teacher's hand
away from the door handle and left the room. Craig locked the door so
Lisa could not return. She then decided that she wanted to refer Lisa
to the principal's office for a disciplinary proceeding. Since it was
early in the school year and she did not know Lisa well, she could
not remember Lisa's last name. This is where things get interesting
for Craig, who opened Lisa's purse so that she could get the girl's
last name off her school schedule or her driver's license. Craig
didn't see either of those, but she did see a knife.
According to the Court of Appeals in San Diego, Craig violated the
rights of Lisa G. by going through her purse. The court deemed this
to be a search of Lisa's belongings and said that this type of search
cannot be held without what the law refers to as a reasonable
suspicion that Lisa had a knife or some other form of contraband in
her purse. The court indicated that Lisa's disruptive behavior did
not give anyone at the school the right to search her personal items.
This case was prosecuted by the deputy attorney general in San
Diego on behalf of the district attorney's office, and apparently the
deputy attorney general is considering an appeal. Bear in mind that
had there been a reasonable suspicion that there was a knife or
something like that in Lisa's purse, the teacher or any other school
official would have had the right to search the purse. What the court
wants to prevent are inappropriate reasons for effectuating a search.
If the teacher didn't remember Lisa's name, she had to find another