INTERROGATIONS, INTERVIEWS AND SEARCHES
Searches by School Personnel
School lockers, desks and other district property are provided for the convenience of students and, as such, are subject to periodic inspection without notice.
Student property may be searched based on reasonable suspicion of a violation of district rules, policy or law. Reasonable suspicion must be based on facts known to the administration, credible information or reasonable inference drawn from such facts or information. Searches of student property shall be limited in scope based on the original justification of the search. The privacy and dignity of students shall be respected. Searches shall be carried out in the presence of adult witnesses and not in front of other students, unless exigent circumstances exist.
It is a privilege, not a right, to park on school grounds. The school retains the authority to conduct routine patrols of any vehicle parked on school grounds. The interior of a student's automobile on school premises may be searched if the school authority has reasonable suspicion to believe that such a search will produce evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or district policy.
The administration will contact law enforcement officials to perform a search if the administration reasonably suspects that a student is concealing controlled substances, drug paraphernalia, weapons, stolen goods or evidence of a crime beneath his or her clothing and the student refuses to surrender such items. Law enforcement officials may be contacted for assistance in performing a search in any case in which a student refuses to allow a search or in which the search cannot safely be conducted.
School employees and volunteers, other than commissioned law enforcement officers, shall not strip search students, as defined in state law, except in situations where an employee reasonably believes that the student possesses a weapon, explosive or substance that poses an imminent threat of physical harm to the student or others and a commissioned law enforcement officer is not immediately available. If a student is strip searched, as defined in state law, by a school employee or a commissioned law enforcement officer, the district will attempt to notify the student's parents/guardians as soon as possible.
During an examination, and if reasonable under the circumstances, school employees may require students to empty pockets or remove jackets, coats, shoes and other articles of exterior clothing that when removed do not expose underwear. Employees may also remove student clothing to investigate the potential abuse or neglect of a student, give medical attention to a student, provide health services to a student or screen a student for medical conditions.
School Resource Officers
The school resource officer (SRO) may interview or question students regarding an alleged violation of law. A school resource officer may also accompany school officials executing a search or may perform searches under the direction of school officials.
Interview with Police or Juvenile Officers/Other Law Enforcement Officials
Law enforcement officials may wish to interview students regarding their knowledge of suspected criminal activity and may wish to interrogate students who are themselves suspected of engaging in criminal activity. Such interviews and interrogations are discouraged during class time, except when law enforcement officials have a warrant or other court order or when an emergency or other exigent circumstances exist. It is the responsibility of the principal or designee to take reasonable steps to prevent disruption of school operations while at the same time cooperating with law enforcement efforts.
When law enforcement officials find it necessary to question students during the school day or during periods of extracurricular activities, the school principal or designee will be present and the interview will be conducted in private. The principal will verify and record the identity of the officer or other authority and request an explanation of the need to question or interview the student at school. The principal ordinarily will make reasonable efforts to notify the student's parents/guardians unless the interviewer raises a valid objection to the notification.
Removal of Students from School by Law Enforcement Officials
Before a student at school is arrested or taken into custody by a law enforcement official or other legally authorized person, the principal will verify the official's identity. To the best of his or her ability, the principal will verify the official's authority to take custody of the student. The school principal will attempt to notify the student's parents/guardians that the student is being removed from school.
Interview with the Children's Division
Representatives of the Children's Division (CD) of the Department of Social Services may meet with students on campus. The district liaison will work with CD to arrange such meetings so they are minimally disruptive to the student's schedule. If the student is an alleged victim of abuse or neglect, CD may not meet with the student in any school building or child care facility where the abuse of the student allegedly occurred. The principal will verify and record the identity of any CD representatives who request to meet with or take custody of a student.
Contacts by Guardian Ad Litem and Court-Appointed Special Advocate
When a court-appointed guardian ad litem or special advocate finds it necessary to interview a student during the school day or during periods of extracurricular activities, the school principal or designee must be notified. The principal will verify and record the identity of the individual through the court order that appoints him or her. The interview must be conducted in a private setting and with the least disruption to the student's schedule.
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Note: The reader is encouraged to check the index located at the beginning of this section for other pertinent policies and to review administrative procedures and/or forms for related information.
Adopted: September 9, 2004
Cross Refs: ECD, Traffic and Parking Controls
KNAJ, Relations with Law Enforcement Authorities
Legal Refs: §§ 167.166, 210.145, 544.193, RSMo.
New Jersey vs. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985)
Advance R-IV School District, Advance, Missouri
© 2004, Missouri School Boards' Association, Registered in U.S. Copyright Office
For Office Use Only: JFG-C.1J (7/04)