JIH - Questioning and Searches of Students

QUESTIONING AND SEARCHES OF STUDENTS

The South Portland Board of Education seeks to maintain a safe and orderly environment in the schools. School administrators are authorized to question and/or search students in accordance with this policy and accompanying administrative procedures.

Students may not bring, possess, or store at school any items or substances, which are prohibited by law, Board policies and/or school rules, or which interfere with the operations, discipline or general welfare of the school. Students, their personal property, and their vehicles may be searched with reasonable suspicion that they possess any items or substances which are prohibited by law, Board of Education policies and/or school rules, or which interfere with the operations, discipline or general welfare of the school.

When special circumstances exist, including but not limited to a suspected ongoing violation of the Board’s drug/alcohol or weapons policies, or when a potential threat to safety is identified, school administrators may search groups of students or the entire student body without individualized suspicion.

Student use of all school storage facilities, including but not limited to lockers, desks, and parking lots is a privilege granted by the school. All storage facilities are school property and remain under the control, custody and supervision of the school. Students have no expectation of privacy in school storage facilities or for any items placed in such storage facilities. School administrators have the authority to inspect and search storage facilities and their contents on a random basis, with or without reasonable suspicion, and without notice or consent.

The Superintendent may authorize the use of exploratory canine patrols to assist in the detection of drugs, weapons, or other illicit substances. Canine patrols may be utilized on a random basis, with or without reasonable suspicion, and without notice or consent, to scan any school storage facilities and any personal property, including backpacks, that is brought onto school property.

If a search produces evidence that a student has violated or is violating the law, Board policies and/or school rules, such evidence may be seized and impounded by the school administrators and appropriate law enforcement authorities as required by law or as deemed appropriate by the Superintendent.

A student who refuses to comply with a search directive may be subject to disciplinary action, including the disciplinary consequences for the suspected violation.

School, staff, students, and parents shall be informed of this policy on an annual basis through handbooks and/or other means selected by the school administrators.

The Superintendent is authorized to develop and implement, with input from legal counsel, administrative staff and others as appropriate, any administrative procedures necessary to carry out this policy. Such administrative procedures shall be subject to Board approval.

Cross Reference: JIH-R – Questioning and Searches of Students, Administrative Procedure
JICH – Substance Abuse Policy
JICIA – Weapons, Violence and School Safety
JK – Student Discipline

Adopted: March 8, 1976
Revised: August 14, 2000
Revised: January 11, 2010

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