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Questioning and Searches of Students Administrative Procedure

CODE: JIH-R

Maine School Administrative District No. 31

QUESTIONING AND SEARCHES OF STUDENTS

The purpose of this administrative procedure is to provide guidelines for the conduct of student questioning and searches by Building Principals and/or their designee.  These are guidelines only and may be adjusted within reasonable and lawful limits on a case-by-case basis.

    A.  Questioning by Building Principals and/or their designees
            1. Building Principals are under no obligation to notify a student’s parent/guardians prior to questioning a student regarding 
                alleged violations of Board policies, school rules, and/or federal/state laws.  If law enforcement officers are involved, refer 
                to policy KLG - Relations with Law Enforcement Authorities.
            2. Building Principals shall inform the student of the reasons for the questioning and provide an opportunity for the student to
                respond to any allegations.  Building Principals shall make a reasonable effort to question the student in a location out of the 
                sight and hearing of other students.
           3. If a student fails to cooperate, lies, misleads, or threatens any person during questioning, he/she may be subject to additional 
                disciplinary action.
            4. A student who refuses to comply with a search directive may be subject to disciplinary action, including the disciplinary 
                consequences for the suspected violation.

    B.  Searches of Students and/or Personal Property in Students’ Immediate Possession
            1. Building Principals and/or their designees are authorized to search students and/or personal property in the students’  
               immediate possession when, in their judgment, there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a student has violated or is 
               violating the Board policies, school rules and/or federal/state laws.  Strip searches shall not be conducted by school officials.
            2. All searches of students and/or personal property shall be authorized and conducted by Building Principal and/or designee in
                the presence of a witness impractical.
            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, backpack, gym bag, lunch bag).  If the search discloses evidence, 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. Building Principals and/or their designees are required to document all searches and items seized/impounded on the Student 
                Search Form or by another reasonable method.

    C.  Searches of Lockers, Desks, and other School Facilities

            1. School staff, students, and parents shall be informed of this policy/ procedure on an annual basis.
            2. Building Principals shall consult with the Superintendent prior to conducting random searches.

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

            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. Building principals and/or their designees are required to document all searches and items seized/impounded on the Student
                Search Form or by another reasonable method.

    D.  Patrolling Parking Lots

            1. Students may drive vehicles to school and park in designated areas in accordance with school rules.  Building Principals and/or 
                their designees retain authority to patrol parking lots.

            2. If Building Principals have a reasonable suspicion that a vehicle which a student has parked at school contains evidence that
                the student has or is violating a federal/state law and/or there is a substantial threat to the welfare and safety of the schools, 
                law enforcement authorities will be requested to render assistance in accordance with Board policy KLG - Relations with Law 
                Enforcement Authorities.

            3. If practical, the student should be present during the search.  A reasonable effort will be made to conduct searches out of the
                sight and hearing of other students.  The student may be given the opportunity to open any closed items or items that are not 
                easily accessible to visual search.  If the student refuses, the administrator shall open and search items.

    E.  Involvement of Law Enforcement Authorities

            1. Building Principals and/or their designees have the discretion to request the assistance of law enforcement authorities
                including the use of law enforcement canine units to conduct searches of the building in accordance with Board policy.

    F.  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 of if there is a reasonable suspicion that drugs, weapons and/or other illegal substances or items 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 appropriate law enforcement authorities.  Only 
                certified dogs and handlers may be used.

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

            4. Teachers will be notified prior to imitation 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 may 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. Immediately following removal of the dogs, each area noted during the canine patrol will be searched.  Each search will be 
                conducted by a school administrator in the presence of a witness, except where the circumstances make the presence of a
                witness impractical.

            7. If practical, the student should be present during a search of his/her locker or vehicle.  A reasonable effort may be made to 
               conduct the search out of the sight and hearing of other students.  The student may be given the opportunity to open any 
               closed  items or items that are not easily accessible to visual search.  If the student refuses, the administrator shall open and 
               search the items.

Cross-reference: JIH- Questioning and Searches of Students
                KLG- Relations with Law Enforcement Authorities


First Reading: 05/17/2006
Second Reading:   06/21/2006
Adopted:           06/21/2006