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502 Search of Student Lockers Desks Personal Possessions and Student's Person

 

 

I. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to provide for a safe, educational environment by enforcing the school district’s policies against contraband.

 

II.  GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY

A. Lockers and Personal Possessions Within a Locker

Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, school lockers are the property of the school district.  At no time does the school district relinquish its exclusive control of lockers provided for the convenience of students.  Inspection of the interior of lockers may be conducted by school officials for any reason at any time, without notice, without student consent, and without a search warrant.  The personal possessions of students within a school locker may be searched when school officials have a reasonable suspicion that the search will uncover evidence of a violation of law or school rules.  As soon as practicable after the search of a student’s personal possessions, the school officials must provide notice of the search to students whose lockers were searched unless disclosure would impede an ongoing investigation by police or school officials.

B. Desks

School desks are the property of the school district.  At no time does the school district relinquish its exclusive control of desks provided for the convenience of students.  Inspection of the interior of desks may be conducted by school officials for any reason at any time, without notice, without student consent, and without a search warrant.

C. Personal Possessions and Student’s Person

The personal possessions of students and/or a student’s person may be searched when school officials have a reasonable suspicion that the search will uncover a violation of law or school rules.  The search will be reasonable in its scope and intrusiveness.

D. It is a violation of this policy for students to use lockers and desks for unauthorized purposes or to store contraband.  It is a violation for students to carry contraband on their person or in their personal possessions.

 

III. DEFINITIONS

A. “Contraband” means any unauthorized item possession of which is prohibited by school district policy and/or law.  It includes but is not limited to weapons and “look-alikes,” alcoholic beverages, controlled substances and “look-alikes,” other materials belonging to the school district, and stolen property.

B. “Personal possessions” includes but is not limited to purses, backpacks, book bags, packages, clothing, and vehicles in school parking lots.

C. “Reasonable suspicion” means that a school official has reasonable grounds to believe that the search will result in evidence of a violation of school district policy, rules, and/or law.  Reasonable suspicion may be based on a school official’s personal observation, a report from a student, parent or staff member, a student’s suspicious behavior, a student’s age and past history or record of conduct both in and out of the school context, or other reliable sources of information.

D. “Reasonable scope” means that the scope and/or intrusiveness of the search is reasonably related to the objectives of the search.  Factors to consider in determining what is reasonable include the seriousness of the suspected infraction, the reliability of the information, the necessity of acting without delay, the existence of exigent circumstances necessitating an immediate search and further investigation (e.g. to prevent violence, serious and immediate risk of harm or destruction of evidence), and the age of the student.

 

IV.       PROCEDURES

A. As soon as practicable after a search of personal possessions within a locker pursuant to this policy, the school officials must provide notice of the search to students whose possessions were searched unless disclosure would impede an ongoing investigation by police or school officials.

B. Whenever feasible, a search of a person shall be conducted in private by a school official of the same sex/gender.  A second school official of the same sex/gender shall be present as an observer during the search of a person whenever feasible.

C. Strip searches will not be done by school staff.

D. A school official conducting any other search may determine when it is appropriate to have a second official present as an observer.

E.  A copy of this policy will be included in the student handbook or disseminated in any other way which school officials deem appropriate.  The school district shall provide a copy of this policy to a student when the student is given use of a locker.

 

V. SEIZURE OF CONTRABAND

If a search yields contraband, school officials will seize the item and, where appropriate, turn it over to law enforcement officials for ultimate disposition.

 

 

Legal References:     

U. S. Const., amend. IV

Minn. Const., art. I, § 10

New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325, 105 S.Ct. 733, 83 L.Ed.2d 720 (1985)

Minn. Stat. § 121A.72 (School Locker Policy)

 

Cross References:     

MSBA/MASA Model Policy 417 (Chemical Use and Abuse)

MSBA/MASA Model Policy 418 (Drug-Free Workplace/Drug-Free School)

MSBA/MASA Model Policy 501 (School Weapons)

MSBA/MASA Model Policy 506 (Student Discipline)

 

POLICY ADOPTED: February 17, 2009

POLICY REVISED: December 4, 2014, March 25, 2021

Policy

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