|West Clermont Local School District|
5771 - SEARCH AND SEIZURE
Pursuant to Board of Education Policy 5771, the following guidelines shall be used when school administrators have reason to suspect that an illegal or dangerous substance or object or stolen property may be in the possession of a student:
|A.||All requests or suggestions for the search of a student or his/her possessions shall be directed to the principal or the person in charge of the students while out of the District.|
|B.||Wherever possible, before conducting the search, the building administrator shall notify the student, request his/her consent to the inspection if other than his/her locker, and inform the student that s/he may withhold consent. Such consent, if offered, shall be given voluntarily and with the knowledge that it could have been withheld. The principal shall conduct the search, however, with or without the consent.|
|C.||Wherever possible, an adult third party shall be present at any search of a student or his/her possessions.|
|D.||The principal may conduct a student search upon reasonable suspicion to suspect the presence of an illegal or dangerous substance or object, or anything contraband under school rules.|
|E.||The principal shall be responsible for the custody, control, and disposition of any illegal or dangerous substance or object taken from a student, whether during a student search or otherwise.|
|F.||Wherever possible, the student shall be present at any search of his/her possessions.|
|G.||Whenever the search is prompted by the reasonable suspicion that possession of a substance or object immediately threatens the safety and health of the student or others, the principal shall act with as much speed and dispatch as is required to protect persons and property in the school while keeping clearly in mind the student's rights and the potential consequences of inappropriate or hasty action.|
As used in this section, "reasonable suspicion for a search" means grounds sufficient to cause an adult of normal intellect to believe that the search of a particular person, place, or thing will lead to the discovery of evidence that the student:
|A.||has violated or is violating a rule or behavioral norm contained in the student handbook;|
|B.||has violated or is violating a particular law;|
|C.||possesses an item or substance which presents an immediate danger of physical harm or illness to students and staff or District property.|
Lockers and Other Storage Areas Provided for Student Use
All lockers and other storage areas provided for student use remain the property of the District. These lockers and storage areas are subject to inspection, access for maintenance, and search pursuant to these guidelines. A student using the locker or storage area has, by statute, no expectation of privacy in that locker or storage area or the contents contained therein (See Form 5771 F1). No student shall lock or otherwise impede access to any locker or storage area except with a lock provided by or approved by the principal. Unapproved locks will be removed and destroyed.
The principal may search student lockers and storage areas and the contents contained therein at any time for any justifiable reason.
The principal may, at any time, request assistance of the school resource officer having jurisdiction over the facilities of the District. The law enforcement officer must have probable cause, however, to conduct a search of the lockers and storage areas and the contents contained therein.
Desks and Other Storage Areas
A desk or any other storage area in the school provided for student use as well as the contents contained therein, may be searched when the principal has reasonable suspicion for a search.
Any vehicle brought on District premises by a student may be searched when the principal has reasonable suspicion to justify the search.
One of the conditions for granting permission for a student to bring a student-operated vehicle onto school premises is written consent by the student driver, the owner of the vehicle, and the parent of the student to allow search of that vehicle. Refusal by any of the parties to provide or allow access to a vehicle at the time of a search request shall be cause for terminating the privilege without further hearing.
Searches of vehicles of staff members or visitors shall be conducted by law enforcement personnel.
The personal search of a student may be conducted by the principal when s/he has reasonable suspicion for a search of that student. Authorized searches of the student's person are:
|A.||the student's pockets by requesting the student turn his/her pockets inside out;|
|B.||purses, briefcases, or any other object in the possession of the student;|
|C.||removal of an article of exterior clothing such as a jacket.|
Use of Breath - Test Instruments
The principal may arrange for a breath test for blood-alcohol to be conducted on a student whenever s/he has individualized reasonable suspicion to believe the student has consumed an alcoholic beverage.
The principal shall attempt to contact the school resource officer and arrange for it to conduct the test.
Use of Dogs
The Board has authorized the use of specially-trained dogs to detect the presence of drugs and devices such as bombs on school property under the following conditions:
|A.||The presence of the dogs on school property must be authorized, in advance, by the principal or be pursuant to a court order or warrant.|
|B.||The dog must be handled by a law enforcement officer or a contracted person specially trained to safely and competently work with the dog.|
|C.||The dog is represented by the Sheriff or Chief of the law enforcement agency providing the service as capable of accurately detecting drugs and/or devices.|
|D.||The dog will be allowed to examine a student's possessions, including vehicles.|
|E.||The dog may be allowed to examine school property such as lockers as permitted by the building principal. Any limitation as to areas of school property to be examined by the dog shall be established by the principal at the time the use of dogs is authorized.|
Method of Search
The scope of any search should be limited by the reasonable suspicion that motivated the search. If an item is found that leads to reasonable suspicion that additional, correlated items may also exist, the search may be extended. If the initial search produces no evidence of contraband, there should be no extension of the search based on simple curiosity.
Anything found in the course of a search which is evidence of a student violation of school rules or Federal/State laws may be seized and admitted as evidence in any suspension or expulsion proceeding if it is tagged for identification at the time it is seized and kept in a secure place by the principal until it is presented at the hearing. It may also be turned over to any law enforcement officer after proper notation and receipt.
© Neola 2003