Gooding Joint School District No. 231
Searches and Seizure
The preservation of order in the classroom and of a safe school environment conducive to education is essential in order for the academic process to be successful. The conflicting tensions between students’ rights and administrator’s responsibilities can be resolved by balancing the student’s legitimate expectations of privacy and the school’s equally legitimate need to maintain an environment in which learning can take place. Because of this school district’s need to provide a school environment favorable to education, certain school personnel may conduct reasonable searches of students, students’ property or school property both in school and during school sponsored activities such as field trips. These reasonable searches are based upon the following propositions:
- Education is an important state and local function and requires an atmosphere free from danger and undue
- The need to search is based on the right and the responsibility that school officials have to maintain discipline and to ensure the proper functioning of the educational process.
- Students have a reduced expectation of privacy at school and during school sponsored activities than at their
- Students should have little or no expectation of privacy in school property, such as desks and
- Some activities, which result in the seizure by school personnel of contraband items or items whose presence at school violates school rules are not searches. They include, but are not limited to, objects lawfully exposed in plain view, either in school or in students’ automobiles; objects not within the exclusive possession of the student and items found or activities observed in school areas normally under the control and supervision of teachers and administration such as classroom, school yards and open areas of washrooms and locker
Guidelines for Searches
The following criteria and standards will be used in the decision by school officials to conduct a reasonable search of a student:
- There must be reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or rules of the
- The scope of the search will be reasonable after consideration and evaluation of the student’s age, sex, school record and nature of the
- Exigent circumstances and information received by school officials will be
- The school principal or assistant principal in the principal’s absence will determine if a search or a student is necessary to protect the health of the particular student, or other students or the educational
- The school principal, resource officer, or assistant principal will conduct the search, unless circumstances necessitate the search being conducted by another school official such as a counselor or a
- A student will be asked to consent to the search; however, failure of the student to consent will not necessarily halt the search by the school
School Property and Equipment as well as Personal Effects Left There by Students
School authorities may inspect and search school property and equipment owned or controlled by the school (such as lockers, desks, and parking lots), as well as personal effects left there by the student, without notice or consent of the student. This applies to student vehicles parked on school property. Building principals may require each high school student, in return for the privilege of parking on school property, to consent in writing to school searches of his or her vehicle and personal effects therein, when reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing exists.
The Superintendent may request the assistance of law enforcement officials to conduct inspections and searches of lockers, desks, parking lots, and other school property and equipment for illegal drugs, weapons or other illegal or dangerous substances or material, including searches conducted through the use of specially trained dogs.
School authorities may search the student and/or the student’s personal effects in the student’s possession when there is reasonable ground for suspecting that the search will produce evidence the particular student has violated or is violating the law or the District’s student conduct rules. The search itself must be conducted in a manner that is reasonably related to its objectives and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction.
Seizure of Property
If a search produces evidence that the student has violated or is violating the law or the District’s policies or rules, such evidence may be seized and impounded by school authorities, and disciplinary action may be taken. When appropriate, such evidence may be transferred to law enforcement authorities.
Adopted on: July 17, 2012 Revised on: