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Indiana court: Miranda applies in some student interviews

INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WISH) — The Indiana Supreme Court says students must be told about their right to remain silent when questioned by police in a custody-type setting at school. 

The court ruled Wednesday in the February 2016 case of a 13-year-old boy suspected of a bomb threat on a bathroom wall at Decatur Middle School. The court threw out the confession, saying the boy wasn’t advised of his rights while being interrogated by a vice principal in the presence of armed officers.

The court says students must be advised of their rights if they’re being questioned while police are present and they don’t feel free to leave a room.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush says Miranda doesn’t apply if school officials simply are questioning a student, unless they’re acting as agents of the police. 

In a related case, the court ruled for the state. In early March 2017, sexual graffiti on boys-bathroom walls at Brownsburg High School prompted a school investigation. Assistant Principal Demetrius Dowler enlisted the help of school resource officer Nathan Flynn’s in finding a suspect, but the assistant principal interviewed the student without the police officer.

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