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JIH - R - SEARCHES OF SCHOOL STORAGE FACILITIES, STUDENTS AND STUDENTS’ BELONGINGS

  • Section J: Students

JIH-R - SEARCHES OF SCHOOL STORAGE FACILITIES, STUDENTS AND STUDENTS’ BELONGINGS

ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE


The purpose of this administrative procedure is to provide guidelines for the conduct of searches by school administrators.  These are guidelines only and may be adjusted within reasonable and lawful limits on a case-by-case basis.  School staff, students, and parents shall be informed of this procedure on an annual basis.
 

A. Searches of an Individual Student and/or Personal Property in the Student’s Immediate Possession

1. School administrators are authorized to search an individual student and/or personal property in the student’s immediate possession when, in their judgment, there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the student has violated or is violating Board policies, school rules and/or federal/state laws.

2. All searches of individual students and/or their personal property shall be conducted by a school administrator in the presence of a witness whenever possible, given the circumstances of the search.

3. Searches should be reasonably related to the suspected violation and no more intrusive than necessary to discover the evidence for which the search was instigated.  Searches may include the student’s outer clothing (e.g., pockets, jacket, shoes, hat) and personal belongings (e.g., purse, book bag, gym bag, lunch bag).  If the search discloses evidence of a violation of Board policies, school rules and/or federal/state laws, a broader search may be justified.

4. Searches which disclose evidence that a student has violated Board policies or school rules will be addressed through school disciplinary procedures.  Evidence of violation of federal/state laws may result in school disciplinary action and/or be forwarded to law enforcement authorities for possible investigation/prosecution.

5. School administrators are required to document all searches.

 

B. Searches of Lockers, Desks and Other School Storage Facilities 

1. School administrators shall consult with the Superintendent prior to conducting random and/or school wide searches.  Random and/or school-wide searches of school storage facilities and their contents may be conducted in the absence of reasonable individual suspicion.  If a school-wide search of school facilities is initiated, all school storage facilities of the same nature (i.e., all lockers, or all desks) shall be searched at that time.

2. Searches of individual student lockers, desks or other storage facilities and their contents based upon reasonable suspicion will be conducted in the presence of the student and, if practical under the circumstances of the search, a witness.

3. Searches which disclose evidence that a student has violated Board policies or school rules will be addressed through school disciplinary procedures.  Evidence of violation of federal/state laws may result in school disciplinary action and/or be forwarded to law enforcement authorities for possible investigation/prosecution.

4. School administrators are required to document all searches.

 

C. Patrolling of Parking Lots and Student Vehicle Searches

1. Students may drive vehicles to school and may park in designated areas in accordance with school rules. Use of school parking lots is a privilege granted by the school, and not a right.   School administrators retain the authority to patrol parking lots.

2. Parking lot patrols may include plain view inspections of the interior of each vehicle as well as canine patrols (see Section D).

3. If school administrators have a reasonable suspicion that a vehicle which a student has parked at school contains evidence that the student has violated or is violating a federal/state law and/or there is a substantial threat to the welfare and safety of the schools, a search of the vehicle may be conducted by school administrators.

4. If practical under the circumstances of the search, the student will be given the opportunity to be present during the search and to unlock the vehicle, trunk and/or glove compartment, and/or to open any container reasonably within the scope of the search. If a student refuses to provide access to the vehicle and/or containers, the school administrator may contact the student’s parent/guardian to obtain access.   If the parent/guardian cannot be reached or refuses to grant access, the school administrator may, depending upon the circumstances, take any or all of the following actions: take control of the vehicle and refuse to allow the student access to the vehicle; open and search the vehicle and/or containers; and/or request the assistance of law enforcement authorities.

5. Searches which disclose evidence that a student has violated Board policies or school rules will be addressed through school disciplinary procedures.  Evidence of violation of federal/sate laws may result in school disciplinary action and/or be forwarded to law enforcement authorities for possible investigation/prosecution.

6. School administrators are required to document all searches.

 

D. Canine Patrols

1. The Superintendent may authorize canine patrols to take place anywhere on school property if he/she deems it advisable to maintain school safety or if there is a reasonable suspicion that drugs and/or weapons will be found.  Canine patrols may include school lockers and/or student vehicles in school parking lots.

2. The Superintendent must make requests for canine patrols in writing to the State Police.  Only dogs and handlers certified by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy may be used.

3. Whenever possible, canine patrols will be scheduled to minimize disruption of the academic program and risk of contact with students.

4. Teachers will be notified prior to the initiation of a canine patrol to keep students in their classrooms during the patrol.  Any students in the parking lot, or anywhere outside of a classroom, prior to a canine patrol will be instructed to report to the school office or appropriate classroom.

5. All lockers and/or student vehicles will be scanned during a canine patrol. Any locker and/or vehicle identified by the canine patrol will be noted by the school administrators accompanying the patrol.

6. After all lockers and/or student vehicles have been scanned, the dog(s) will be removed from the school premises.

7. Immediately following removal of the dog(s) from the school premise, each locker and/or vehicle identified by the canine patrol will be searched by school administrators in accordance with Section B and/or C of this procedure.  Law enforcement authorities will not participate in such searches except under exigent circumstances.

8. School administrators are required to document the initiation of a canine patrol, and the parameters of the patrol.

 

E. Involvement of Law Enforcement Authorities

1. School authorities have the discretion to request the assistance of law enforcement authorities in accordance with Board policy.


 

Cross Reference:

JIH- Searches of School Storage Facilities, Students, and Students’ Belongings
JIH-E-Student Search Checklist

 

Adopted: 06/11/01    
Reviewed: 04/26/10             

  • Section J