Greene v. Camreta summary
May 27, 2011
The United States Supreme Court discarded the 9th Circuit’s 2009 ruling in Greene v. Camreta on a technicality. In that case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal court with jurisdiction over Oregon, ruled that authorities needed a warrant, court order, parental permission or exigent circumstances before interviewing students as part of sexual abuse investigations at school. The facts of the case involved a police officer and state social worker interviewing a student on school grounds about possible sexual abuse. The 9th Circuit ruled the interview constituted a “seizure” under constitutional law and seizing the student absent a warrant, court order, parental consent or other exigent circumstances violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Following the 9th Circuit’s ruling, school districts adopted policies requiring police or state case workers to produce a warrant, court order, parental permission or exigent circumstances prior to interviewing a student on school grounds as part of a sexual abuse investigation.
While the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision technically discards the 9th Circuit’s ruling, the high court did not reach the merits of the 9th Circuit’s holding regarding schools’ constitutional obligations when police officers or other officials request access to students while attending school. Because this issue will likely arise again, at this time OSBA suggests as a best practice that school districts keep their current policies and administrative regulations adopted after the 9th Circuit’s 2009 decision in place.