Search by School Official
The right to inspect a student’s school locker is inherent in the authority granted the Board of Trustees and its administrators. This authority may be exercised as needed in the interest of safeguarding children, their own property, and the property of the school.
School officials may inspect and search student lockers as the need arises, with or without "reasonable suspicion". Students are to be informed in writing at the time the locker is issued of the conditions governing the use of school lockers, including a notice that the locker may be inspected and searched by school officials with or without reasonable suspicion.
Blanket searches of all lockers are permitted to insure the proper safety of the student body. When contraband, drugs and dangerous weapons are found, they are to be seized by the school official conducting the locker search. Notification of law enforcement officers may be warranted.
When practical, the student in possession of the locker being searched should be present during the search. The student’s due process is to be strictly protected by (1) informing him/her of the reason for the search, (2) informing him/her of the evidence against him/her, (3) allowing him/her to present his/her side of the story.
Search of Students
Search of students by school officials requires reasonable suspicion to suspect that the student has violated or is in the process of violating a law or school rule. The search must be conducted in a manner that is reasonably related to objectives of the search and is not overly intrusive.
The search of a student requires isolation when at all practical. The student should be provided with an opportunity to show that he/she is not concealing any illegal substance, contraband, or weapons. All reasonable attempts should be made to avoid searching a student in front of other students. All searches must be performed in the presence of an appropriate witness.
"Pat Searches" are to be performed by a member of the same sex as the student and in the presence of an appropriate witness. "Strip Searches" are not permitted under any circumstances.
The individual serving as the witness should be an individual who can verify what was found on or in possession of the student.
It is the responsibility of the school official conducting the student search to document all procedures and findings.
Student Search by a School Resource Officer or other Law Enforcement Officer
Any search requires reasonable suspicion and shall be in isolation from other students, if practicable, and in the presence of an appropriate witness. It is the responsibility of the school official overseeing the search to insure that the rights of the student regarding the search are protected. The school official shall attempt to notify the student’s parents prior to the search if at all practicable, and provide them an opportunity to be present. The school official shall also request that an appropriate witness be present, at all times, who can verify all procedures and findings. The proceedings and findings shall be documented by the school official.
General Search of the Student Body
General searches of the student body are permitted to insure the protection and welfare of all students.
General searches may be limited to particular classrooms or the entire school.
General searches may include the use of mechanical devises such as metal detectors and drug detectors, including drug-smelling animals.
Interview With School Resource Officer or Law Enforcement Officers/Other Officials
The schools have legal custody of pupils during the school day and during hours approved for extracurricular activities, and it is the responsibility of the school administration to protect each student under its control, ensuring that his legal rights are not violated. Therefore, the following guidelines shall be observed:
1. If an officer or other official (other than school officials) wishes to interview a student in school as a possible witness to an illegal act, the person seeking the interview shall explain the situation carefully and clearly to the principal or the principal’s assistant in the privacy of the school office. After hearing the request, the principal may, if he/she deems it advisable, permit the interview of the child in the privacy of his/her office.
Before allowing the interrogation of a pupil as a suspect in an illegal act, the principal will always attempt to contact the parents or guardian to ascertain if they would like to be present. If the parent or guardian is unable to be present, interrogation will be allowed only if the officer has a proper warrant, has seen the student commit a specific offense, or another school official has witnessed the event. The principal will make every effort to notify a parent or guardian of the interrogation and also of any information which was divulged in the interrogation. Any interrogation shall be witnessed by the principal or his or her designee. The proceeding and findings will be documented.
2. The principal will always attempt to provide a normal and natural atmosphere, and make certain that the student is comfortable and at ease. The principal will introduce the student to the officer. The principal will also explain why the student has been called to the office for a conference. The principal will make certain the student is questioned quietly and not in any way subject to pressure by an officer.
3. When a student is to be arrested by a police officer, the school official will:
3.1 Verify all warrants
3.2 Insure that the student’s parent has been notified
3.3 Document all procedures, including the name(s) of the arresting officer(s)