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Interrogations and Searches: JIH-R

  • Students: J
Interrogations and Searches: JIH-R


  1. "Reasonable suspicion" is the standard for a search on school property or at school activities carried out by school authorities. Reasonable suspicion should be based on facts provided by a reliable informant or personal observation which cause the school official to believe, based on his/her own experience, that search of a particular person, place or thing would lead to the discovery of evidence of a violation of Superintendent policy or state laws.
  2. "Contraband" consists of all substances or materials prohibited by Superintendent policy or state law including but not limited to drugs, alcoholic beverages, guns, knives, other weapons and incendiary devices.

Search of School Property

School lockers, desks and other storage areas are school property and remain at all times under the control of the school. School property provided for the use of students is subject to inspection, cleanouts, access for maintenance and search at any time without prior notice, conducted without student consent and without the student present.

Students shall assume full responsibility for the security of their lockers and/or other storage areas in the manner approved by the administration. Students shall be responsible for whatever is contained in desks and lockers assigned to them by the school.

The principal or his designee may search a desk, locker or any other storage area and its contents assigned to a specific student when the principal has reasonable grounds for a search. Whenever possible, another person shall be available to witness the search.

Search of the Student's Person

The principal or his designee may search the person of a student if the school official has reasonable grounds to believe that the student is in possession of contraband.

Search of the person shall be limited to the student's pockets, any object in the student's possession such as a purse or briefcase, and/or a "pat-down" of the exterior of the student's clothing.

Searches of the person shall be conducted out of the presence of other students and as privately as possible. At least one additional person of the same sex as the student being searched shall witness but not participate in the search.

The parent or guardian of any student searched shall be notified of the search as soon as reasonably possible.

Searches of the person which require removal of clothing other than a coat or jacket shall be referred to a law enforcement officer. No strip search shall be carried out by any school employee.

Law Enforcement Officers' Involvement

The principal or his designee may request a search on school premises be conducted by a law enforcement officer. Law enforcement authorities will then determine how the search should proceed.

When law enforcement officers respond to such a request, no school employee shall assist or otherwise participate in the search unless under the direct order of the law enforcement officer.

If law enforcement personnel seek permission from school authorities to search a student, the student’s personal property or school property to obtain evidence related to criminal activities, school officials shall require the police to produce a valid search warrant before the search is conducted unless:

  1. There is uncoerced consent by the student.
  2. There is probable cause and circumstances such that taking the time to obtain a search warrant would frustrate the purpose of the search.
  3. The search is incident to an arrest and is limited to the person and his immediate surroundings.

When law enforcement officials request permission to question students when students are in school or participating in school activities, for possible reason to arrest, the principal or his designee shall be present. If the student is under 18, his parent(s) or legal guardian also shall be present unless the juvenile is emancipated as that term is defined in state law.

Every effort shall be made not to draw any attention to the student being questioned by conducting the interrogation in private and with as little disruption to the schedule as possible.

Custody and/or Arrest

When custody and/or arrest by the police is involved, the principal shall request that all procedural safeguards as prescribed by law be observed by the law enforcement officers. This includes all due process procedures including but not limited to obtaining proper arrest warrants when required.

Seizure of Items

Anything found in the course of a search conducted by school officials which is evidence of a violation of law or Superintendent policy or school rules or which by its presence presents an immediate danger of physical harm may be in the discretion of school officials:

  1. Seized and turned over to any law enforcement officer in accordance with this policy.
  2. Seized and offered as evidence in any suspension or expulsion proceeding if it is tagged for identification at the time it is seized. Such material shall be kept in a secure place by the principal until it is presented at the hearing.
  3. Returned to the student or his parent or guardian.


Within 10 school days after a search, the student may appeal the search decision to the superintendent who shall investigate the reason(s) and circumstances of the search. The superintendent shall issue written findings within five school days after receiving the appeal. The superintendent's decision shall constitute the final district determination.