Policy JIH: Interrogations and Searches

School administrators have the responsibility for maintaining a safeschool environment so that students and staff may focus on learning.School administrators, upon becoming aware of a threat to the safeschool environment and based on reasonable suspicion, have the authorityto conduct searches of students, student belongings, student lockers,and student automobiles, if parked on campus. Searches will followprocedures and guidelines and will be in accordance with the parametersestablished by law.

Searches by Staff

The right of inspection of students’ persons, belongings, schoollockers, or automobiles parked on campus is inherent in the authoritygranted to School Committees and Administrators. This authority may beexercised as needed in situations involving the safeguarding of studentsand school personnel, student’s and school personnel’s property, andschool property.

Nevertheless, exercise of that authority by school officials placesunusual demands upon their judgment so as to protect each child’sconstitutional rights to personal privacy and protection from coercionand to act in the best interest of all students and the schools.

Searches by school officials of a student’s person, belongings, orlocker, or automobile parked on campus will be conducted in a way thatprotects the student’s rights consistent with the responsibility of theschool system to provide an atmosphere conducive to the educationalprocess.

A school official’s decision to conduct a search must balance theschool’s concern that gives rise to the search against the student’slegitimate expectations of privacy. To acquaint students with thelimits to their expectations of privacy when they are on schoolproperty, the school handbook will contain information about theschool’s authority to search a student’s person, belongings, locker, andautomobile parked on campus.

The decision to conduct a search results from reasonable suspicion,based on specific facts and based on rational inferences from thosefacts, which would reasonably warrant a search by a school official.The nature and the scope of the search should be appropriate for thesituation and for the immediacy of the school’s concern which led to thesearch.

Interrogations by Police

The schools have legal custody of students during the school day andduring hours of approved extracurricular activities. It is theresponsibility of the school administration to make an effort to protecteach student’s rights with respect to interrogations by law enforcementofficials. Therefore:

When law enforcement officials find it necessary to question studentsduring the school day or periods of extracurricular activities, theschool principal or his/her designee will be present. The student’sparent or guardian will be notified of the situation as soon aspossible.

LEGAL REF:

U.S.C. 4th amendment

Region Voted to Approve: 11/07/06
Amherst Voted to Approve: 11/14/06
Pelham Voted to Approve: 12/14/06
Effective Date: 12/14/06