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Introduction to Critical Thinking case study for Justice Studies students

Locker Search

You are a police officer who has been assigned to work with a local high school. There are rumors of students possessing drugs and possibly selling them. Approximately one week ago, a bag of marijuana was found outside of the building in front of a classroom window. The suspicions of students possessing drugs is based on physical evidence.

A team meeting convenes to discuss the best approach to addressing the problem. The school principal proposes a locker search but reminds the team that not all lockers will be searched and that the school must be selective in which lockers they target. A debate ensues to determine which lockers will be searched.

Mr. Jones, a teacher, suggests that since the majority of students who attend the school are white, the suspect is mostly likely white and the school should focus on white students. Mrs. Swanson disagrees. She says that she recently read a newspaper article that suggests that minority students are more likely to sell drugs, so the school should narrow its focus on minority student lockers.

Mr. Kob, the assistant principal, believes that he knows who the guilty party is. He’s always been suspicious of Billy Jones and has “never liked the way that kid looks.” Mrs. Teller, quickly disagrees stating, “Billy’s a nice boy, and I know in my heart that he would never use drugs.”

Mr. Jones reminds the team that Sally Smith’s father was recently released from prison and if her father sold drugs, “There’s a great likelihood that Sally sells them too.”

Are there examples of logical fallacies, cogent reasoning, or problems with bias and inductive and deductive reason in this case? Please explain your thinking in 1-2 pages. Cite our textbook when needed.

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