Where students/children are involved, rights are a little murky; do students have lesser rights than adults, and if so, to what degree? Do the rights of students in high school change when they turn 18 before graduation?
Due to a recent incident at my school, a few students asked me some questions today. I told them I don't know the answers, but walked them through what I know for sure and told them what I surmised about the gray areas.
Q: Can the vice principal require you to open the trunk of your car?
A: I don't think so. If a law enforcement officer stops you for speeding, he cannot require you to open the trunk of your car unless he has reasonable suspicion that something illegal is there. Otherwise, he's on a fishing expedition, and all our courts (except maybe the 9th Circuit in San Francisco) know that won't fly. (Fly, fishing--get it? Sometimes I slay myself.) So I'd be surprised if a vice principal could require you to do what a law enforcement officer cannot. The 4th Amendment protects you here.
A vice principal cannot search your backpack--whether that's a 4th Amendment issue, state law, or district policy, I'm not sure. If he/she suspects something illegal, though (say, drugs), and the student refuses permission, the VP can summon law enforcement and they can search the backpack if the VP's evidence warrants a search (without a warrant--I'm cracking myself up here). Does this change when the student turns 18?
How much of this changes when you cross into a different state?
The field of law can be most interesting, especially where students are concerned.
Now, don't you want to know why the VP asked the student to open his/her trunk?