STUDENT INTERROGATIONS, SEARCHES AND ARRESTS
Code JIH Issued DRAFT/16
Purpose: To establish the basic structure for conducting searches of students or their property and interrogations and arrests of students.
Students do not lose their constitutional rights upon entering school premises. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects all citizens, including students, from unreasonable searches.
However, students and their belongings are subject to reasonable searches and seizures when administrators have a belief considered to be reasonable under these circumstances.
- A student committed a crime or a violation of a school rule.
- Such a search may reveal contraband or evidence of a violation of a school rule or a criminal law.
Any search conducted must be reasonable in scope given the age and sex of the student and the nature of the alleged infraction.
Only the principal or his/her designee may conduct such searches within the constitutional parameters outlined above unless exigent circumstances exist which require another staff member to take immediate action for safety reasons.
School lockers and desks
All lockers are the property of the school district. School officials may conduct searches of lockers in accordance with publicized administrative rules.
The privilege of bringing a student-operated motor vehicle onto school premises is conditioned on consent by the student driver to allow a search of that motor vehicle when there is reasonable suspicion for a search of that motor vehicle. School officials may conduct searches of motor vehicles in accordance with publicized administrative rules.
Use of dogs for searches
Board policy permits district personnel to conduct random blanket searches of school property with professionally trained handlers and dogs for the purposes of detecting the presence of illegal materials. Dog searches must be documented on the proper form (JIH-E(1)).
Interrogations by school personnel
Teachers and principals may question students about any matter pertaining to the operation of a school and/or enforcement of its rules. The staff member will conduct the questioning discreetly and under circumstances which will avoid unnecessary embarrassment to the student being questioned. Any student who answers falsely or evasively or who refuses to answer a proper question may be disciplined.
Contacting law enforcement
School administrators will contact law enforcement authorities immediately upon notice that a person is engaging in, or has engaged in, certain activities on school property or at a school sanctioned or sponsored activity. Those activities are ones which may result, or do in fact result, in injury or serious threat of injury to the person or to another person or his/her property.
Interrogations by police
When law enforcement officers find it necessary to question students during the school day, the school principal or his/her designee may be present. Officers will conduct the questioning discreetly and under circumstances which will avoid unnecessary embarrassment to the student being questioned. The principal or his/her designee will make a reasonable effort to notify the parents/legal guardians.
Custody or Arrest
Law enforcement authorities have the right to enter the school to take a student into custody or to make a lawful arrest of a student provided that they act pursuant to lawful procedure. The principal will assist the law enforcement officer in assuring that all procedural safeguards as prescribed by law are observed. If a student is arrested or taken into custody at school, the principal or his/her designee will make a reasonable effort to notify the parents/legal guardians.
Adopted 7/23/79; Revised 5/28/90, 6/28/04, 10/26/09, ^
- S.C. Code, 1976, as amended:
- Section 59-24-60 - Requires administrators to contact law enforcement.
- Section 59-63-1110, et seq. - Search of persons and effects on school property.
- Federal Cases:
- New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985).
STUDENT INTERROGATIONS, SEARCHES AND ARRESTS
Code JIH-R Issued DRAFT/16
Justification for student searches
Students possess the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures under the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution. Balanced against this right is the responsibility of school officials to create and maintain an environment consistent with the district's educational mission.
Students may not bring to school items or substances which would disrupt the educational function of the school or which are prohibited by school board regulations or by law. Examples of items or substances in this category include, but are not limited to, weapons, clubs, explosives, firecrackers, alcoholic beverages and nonprescription drugs or drug paraphernalia.
Lockers and other school property
The district provides lockers or other storage spaces to students for their convenience. These storage areas remain school property and, as such are subject to periodic inspections by school authorities. The principal or his/her designee may search a student's locker or storage space when such employee has reasonable suspicion that the locker or storage space is improperly used for the storage of any substance or object, the possession of which is illegal, or may pose a hazard to the safety of the school. Unless an emergency exists, the student should be present and personally remove the contents of the locker or storage space for inspection. General locker or storage space searches may be called for at any time to include all lockers or storage spaces in a selected section of lockers or storage spaces for general housekeeping and safety of the school.
The school principal or his/her designee will maintain an accurate list of all locker or storage space assignments and either a master key or combinations to all lockers and storage spaces.
At the time a student is assigned to a locker or storage space, he/she must be informed that school authorities are empowered to conduct random periodic inspections of school lockers and storage spaces. School authorities will post notices of this inspection policy in appropriate locations throughout the school.
School authorities will also inform students of the following locker and storage space regulations.
- Students are responsible for the contents of the locker or storage space assigned to them.
- Students are to keep their lockers or storage space secured/locked.
- Students are not to give other students access to their locker or storage space.
Circumstances which put the safety of students or school staff at risk or could result in substantial property damage also will constitute sufficient reasons for school or police officials to conduct a thorough search of all school property. A bomb scare is an example of such an emergency.
No school personnel will conduct a search which may be considered a strip search.
All searches of students must be conducted or authorized by the principal or his/her designee in the presence of a witness. The administration will be trained in the proper procedure for conducting searches.
When the need to search a student arises, the student may be asked to consent to the search. In no event will the principal threaten the student with harsher punishment or treatment for refusing to consent nor will the student be coerced or induced to give consent in any other manner. The consent, if given, will be put in writing.
School personnel may, in the course of an investigation and upon reasonable suspicion, ask a student voluntarily to empty the contents of his/her pockets, wallet, purse or similar bags or places of potential concealment or to allow school personnel to search a wallet, purse, bag or other items of potential concealment not a part of immediate wearing apparel such as shoes or a jacket.
If a personal search is deemed necessary, or if the search of a pocket, wallet, purse or similar bag or place of potential concealment is deemed necessary and not voluntarily consented to by the student, school personnel will request the parent/legal guardian to perform the search or the matter may be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
School officials may refer to the Checklist for Student Search [JIH-E(2)] when conducting a search of a student or the student’s effects, locker or storage space, desk or motor vehicle.
Use of trained dogs
The exposure of student containers, packages, lockers or storage spaces, vehicles, desks, book bags, satchels and other similar personal belongings to a reliable and trained “dog sniff,” when not in a student’s possession, in most circumstances is neither a search nor a seizure. A dog sniff of the above items does not expose non-contraband items into view and discloses only the presence or absence of contraband. Sniffing of an individual by trained dogs, however, may constitute a search, and their use on school property may be disruptive and threatening to students and school personnel.
Accordingly, school officials will only utilize trained dogs on district property under the following circumstances.
- Only trained and proven reliable dogs may be utilized on school grounds
- Dogs will be under the control, direction and supervision of a trained dog handler and will be on a leash or subject to appropriate restraint at all times
- Dogs will only be utilized when determined to be reasonable under all the circumstances by the school principal or his/her designee
- Dogs will not sniff an individual unless determined to be reasonable in all respects under the criteria above; however, actual physical contact between dogs and individuals should be avoided.
In all circumstances, school officials will make reasonable efforts to minimize the exposure of students to dogs. Should a dog alert its handler to the presence of any contraband, school officials may conduct a search in accordance with the procedures set forth in the section above.
A Canine Search Report [JIH-E(1)] must be completed and sent to the office of student services within 48 hours of the search being completed.
The privilege of bringing a student-operated motor vehicle onto school premises is conditioned on consent by the student driver to allow search of that motor vehicle when there is reasonable suspicion for a search of that motor vehicle. The act of bringing a motor vehicle upon school premises will allow school officials to presume consent by the student, parent/legal guardian or owner of the vehicle for a search of that motor vehicle. Refusal by a student, parent/legal guardian or owner of the vehicle to allow access to a motor vehicle on school premises at the time of a request to search the motor vehicle will be cause for termination without further hearing of the privilege of bringing a motor vehicle onto school premises. The principal or his/her designee may request a law enforcement officer to search a motor vehicle on school premises, subject to provisions of this policy.
School administrators will contact law enforcement authorities with regard to possession of items that constitute a violation of law.
Issued 1026/09; Revised ^