This article directs courts to base their application of Miranda on an explicit and contextually sound consideration of the relationships among students, officers and administrators. This article argues that Miranda applies when a state agent questions a student under circumstances in which it would be reasonable for the student to believe that she is the subject of law enforcement authority, regardless of whether a law enforcement officer conducts the questioning. The determination that Miranda applies is not tantamount to a decision that the student was in custody. It is merely a prelude to the custody inquiry. This article does not call for any change in the prevailing definition of custody, but proposes a structure for that inquiry that takes into account the special features of the school setting. Part I of this article illustrates the ways in which courts have mishandled the issue of Miranda in the modern school context. Framed around a recent state court case that generated five opinions that each failed to adequately address the issue, this section includes a basic outline of Miranda principles and introduces the ruling in T.L.O. Part II demonstrates that T.L.O. cannot provide an adequate foundation for resolving the question of students' rights during interrogation because of fundamental differences between the Fifth Amendment and Fourth Amendment and between interrogation and the search for physical evidence. Part III sets forth how the Miranda framework sensibly accommodates the attention to relationships that is essential for resolving the challenges presented by modern school-policing as described in the National Assessment of SRO programs. Part IV illustrates (with a Case Study examining the complex dynamics of student-officer relations and a separate close analysis of a principal-officer collaboration) the ways in which the approach developed here preserves students' rights while also permitting effective security measures in schools, thus promoting essential instruction in constitutional democracy.
Schooling Miranda: Policing Interrogation in the Twenty-First Century Schoolhouse, 52 LOY. L. REV. 39