|Birmingham Public Schools|
|Bylaws & Policies|
5771 - SEARCH AND SEIZURE
The Board of Education has charged school authorities with the responsibility of safeguarding the safety and well-being of the students in their care. In the discharge of that responsibility, school authorities may search school property such as lockers used by students or the person or property, including vehicles, of a student, in accordance with the following policy.
The Board acknowledges the need for in-school storage of student possessions and shall provide storage places, including desks and lockers, for that purpose. Where locks are provided for such places, students may lock them against incursion by other students, but in no such places shall students have an expectation of privacy as to prevent examination by a school official. The Board directs the school principals to conduct a routine inspection at least annually of all such storage places. In the course of any search, studentís privacy rights will be respected regarding any items that are not illegal or against Board policy.
The Board also authorizes the use of canines, trained in detecting the presence of drugs or devices, when the Superintendent has reasonable suspicion that illegal drugs or devices may be present in a school. This means of detection shall be used only to determine the presence of drugs in locker areas and other places in the school where such substances could be concealed. Canine detection must be conducted in collaboration with law enforcement authorities or other certified organizations and is not to be used to search students unless either a warrant or parental permission has been obtained prior to the search.
Student Person and Possessions
The Board recognizes that the privacy of students or his/her belongings may not be violated by unreasonable search and seizure and directs that no student be searched without reasonable suspicion or in an unreasonable manner. The extent of the search will be governed by the seriousness of the alleged infraction, the student's age, and the student's disciplinary history.
This authorization to search shall also apply to all situations in which the student is under the jurisdiction of the Board.
Reasonable suspicion that a communication device has been used to violate District policies or administrative guidelines shall be subject to disciplinary action and may result in the communication device being confiscated.
Administrators are authorized to arrange for a breath-test instrument, according to the Superintendent's guidelines, for the purpose of determining if a student has consumed an alcoholic beverage. It is not necessary for the test to determine blood-alcohol level, since the Board has established a zero tolerance for alcohol use.
Except as provided below, a request for the search of a student or a student's possessions will be directed to the principal. S/He shall attempt to obtain the freely-offered consent of the student to the inspection; however, provided there is reasonable suspicion, s/he may conduct the search without such consent. Whenever possible, a search will be conducted by the principal in the presence of the student and a staff member other than the principal. A search prompted by the reasonable belief that health and safety are immediately threatened will be conducted with as much speed and dispatch as may be required to protect persons and property.
Search of a student's person or intimate personal belongings shall be conducted by a person of the student's gender, in the presence of another staff member of the same gender, and only in exceptional circumstances when the health or safety of the student or of others is immediately threatened.
The principal shall be responsible for the prompt recording in writing of each student search, including the reasons for the search; information received that established the need for the search and the name of informant, if any; the persons present when the search was conducted; any substances or objects found and the disposition made of them; and any subsequent action taken. The principal shall be responsible for the custody, control, and disposition of any illegal or dangerous substance or object taken from a student.
The Superintendent shall prepare administrative guidelines to implement this policy.
U.S. Constitution, 4th Amendment
© Neola 2011