The Kentucky Supreme Court is expected to hand down a ruling soon on whether public school administrators should give the Miranda warning to students when they question them with a resource officer present.
The case comes after a Nelson County high school student was charged and convicted for sharing prescription pain pills after confessing to the school’s vice principal and resource officer. The student says his statement shouldn’t have been admissible in his trial because he was not informed of his rights before the interrogation. Tim Arnold with the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy agrees with the student but says it calls into a question a gray area of student/teacher trust. He says,
“We want students to feel like they are expected to respond when somebody asks them a question at school and that they have to give an honest answer. And so we’re gonna create a problem if we don’t provide some limitations on the use of that environment for interrogation purposes for law enforcement.”
Kentucky Association of School Administrators Executive Director Wayne Young says students already give up some of their rights at school for the safety of everyone. Young says requiring administrators to decide when questioning could lead to prosecution of a student would negatively impact that safe environment. He says,
“Let’s let principals do their job and if it needs to be turned over to law enforcement then do that, but let’s not make principals the, you know, enforcers of the constitutional requirement to advise people of their rights if they’re being prosecuted.”
The court heard arguments in the case last month, and is expected to rule in the next few weeks.