COLERAIN TOWNSHIP—The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio today denounced the actions of Northwest School officials and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department for today's reported search of every student at Northwest High School.

“Neither school officials nor police may search students, or anyone without at least reasonable suspicion that the particular person being searched is concealing a dangerous weapon or some sort of contraband. Mass searches of every student are presumptively unreasonable,” said ACLU of Ohio Legal Director Jeffrey Gamso. “We understand the need to keep our kids safe, but school wide searches that violate the Fourth Amendment, degrade the students and waste resources are not the best way to do it.”

Allegedly, only two pocketknives entirely unrelated to the incident that prompted the search were discovered.

“A school is a place of learning, not a prison.” Gamso continued, “Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door.”

If students or parents affected by the search have questions about their rights, they are encouraged to contact the ACLU of Ohio at 216-472-2200 or

The nonprofit, nonpartisan ACLU of Ohio has offices in Cleveland and Cincinnati and community and campus chapters located throughout the state. Due to a recent increase in membership, there are now almost 30,000 ACLU members and supporters in Ohio and more than 500,000 nationwide.