The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

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Do Local Police Target High School Students?

Jake Luce
Libertyville Police Officers are not specifically targeting high school students, they are simply doing their job.

There is a common belief among Libertyville High School students that the police are “out to get them,” and that the students are not treated equally by the police.  This preconceived notion may be true in some ways, but it is false in others.

If a group of high schoolers is out late at night, and they look somewhat suspicious, it makes perfect sense for a police officer to make sure they are not partaking in illegal activities.  It is the police’s job to make sure that our town is safe and that crime is kept to a minimum.  However, it is not fair, nor is it legal for a police officer to search or detain any high schooler without a specific reason or a warrant.  Unless the officer has a valid reason to stop these students, they should not be targeted.

Despite the belief that police officers stereotype high schoolers as being “up to no good,” Libertyville substitute teacher and former police officer Stuart Mendelsohn believes that the stereotype is all in the students’ heads.

“I don’t believe that the police target or stereotype high school students,” Mr. Mendelsohn explained.  “Officers are well-versed in the law, and they are constantly looking for violations in the law.  Whether it be adults, or children of any age, I think behaviors are what stands out to the police.”

The root of the belief that the police target students most likely comes with the newfound responsibilities of high school students.  Because they are now more independent and less reliant on their parents, they believe that police officers, teachers, and other adult figures are targeting them.

“Now that teenagers are coming of age, being on their own more, earning their licenses, and having the freedom to go out, they tend to perceive things differently than they did when their parents were more controlling,” Mr. Mendelsohn stated.

In reality, police officers do not stereotype or target high school students.  However, If you are being profiled or searched by a police officer and you feel that you do not deserve the treatment you are receiving, it helps to know and understand the rights you have in this situation. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that explains and protects the rights of American citizens, these are the rights you can exercise while being stopped by the police:


  • You have the right to remain silent, and if you wish to exercise this right, then you must say so out loud.
  • You have the right to deny the police officers consent to search you or your vehicle, as long as they do not have a warrant or a valid probable cause.
  • If you are not under arrest, you have the right to leave.


It is also beneficial to know your responsibilities in a situation like this. If you do all these things, it will put the officers in a better mood, and it could minimize or eliminate your punishment.  The ACLU also states the responsibilities you have while being searched or detained by the police, which are:


  • You should stay calm and be polite to the officers. If you are rude or if you call them names, they will have more of an incentive to write you a ticket or detain you.
  • Do not interfere or disrupt the officers, especially when they do have reasonable doubt that you are hiding something from them.
  • Be honest to the officers. Any lie you tell them could be used against you in a court of law.  Honesty is the best policy when dealing with the police.


Despite the common belief shared by many high school students, the police are not targeting or stereotyping them.  Police officers are simply doing their job, which is to be vigilant and to search for any potential crime.  In reality, high school students are still adjusting to the responsibilities and freedoms that come with adulthood, and they are not being specifically targeted by the police.


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Do Local Police Target High School Students?