topleft CSBA.org >  Services >  Governance Technology > 

Elk Grove USD  |  BP  5145.12  Students

Search And Seizure   

arrow Previous bar Next arrow

The Governing Board is committed to maintaining a safe learning environment. The district strives to eliminate the possession and use of weapons, illegal drugs, and other controlled substances by students on school premises and at school activities. As needed to protect the health, safety and welfare of students and staff and as outlined in this policy, school officials may conduct searches of students, their property, and district property under their control, and may seize items that are illegal, unsafe, or otherwise prohibited by district or school rule.

Staff who conduct student searches on behalf of the district will receive training regarding the district's board policy, administrative regulation, and relevant legal standards applicable to searches and seizures. For all searches and seizures, employees should exercise discretion, good judgment and common sense. Employees must follow the law, board policy, and administrative regulation when conducting a search or seizure.

Individual Searches

School officials may search individual students, their property, or district property under their control when there is a reasonable suspicion that the search will uncover evidence that the student is or has violated the law or the rules of the district or the school. Reasonable suspicion is based on specific and objective facts that the search will produce evidence related to the alleged violation. Examples of the types of student property that may be searched by school officials where reasonable suspicion exists include, but are not limited to, lockers, desks, purses, student vehicles parked on district property, cell phones, and backpacks.

Searches of a student, his/her property, or district property under the student's control must be limited in scope and tailored to produce evidence related to the alleged violation. When determining the scope of the search, school officials must consider whether the item or items to be searched are reasonably related to the alleged violation. School officials should also evaluate, when determining the scope of the search, the potential danger to the health or safety of students and staff. The scope of the search must not be excessively intrusive given the student's age, gender, and the nature of the alleged infraction.

Employees are prohibited from conducting strip searches or body cavity searches of students. (Education Code 49050.)

At least two district employees must be present when an individual student's person (as opposed to desk, locker, backpack, etc.) is searched. The parent/guardian of a student subjected to an individualized search shall be notified by the district as soon after the search as possible.

Because the district retains control of student lockers and they are the district's property, school officials shall have the right to open and inspect any school locker without student permission when they have reasonable suspicion that the search will disclose evidence of illegal possessions or activity or when odors, smoke, fire and/or other threats to student health, welfare or safety emanate from the locker.

Student Cell Phones

The search of student cell phones shall be governed by this policy, the reasonable suspicion standard, as well as procedures and instructions provided to district school site administrators which are consistent with the requirements of Penal Code section 1546 et seq.

Searches of Multiple Student Lockers and Desks

All student lockers and student desks are the property of the district. For health and safety reasons, a general inspection of school properties that are under the joint control of students, such as lockers and desks, may be conducted on a regular, announced basis, with students standing by their assigned lockers or desks. Any items contained in a locker or desk shall be considered to be the property of the student to whom the locker or desk was assigned. Notice of this policy shall be given to all students when lockers are assigned.

Use of Metal Detectors

The Board recognizes that the growing presence of weapons in schools threatens the district's ability to provide the safe and orderly learning environment to which our students and staff are entitled. The Board also recognizes that random metal detector searches offer a reasonable means to keep weapons out of the schools, ensure the safety of students and staff, and to mitigate the fears of students and staff. Metal detectors may be used as necessary to maintain a safe learning environment.

If the district determines to utilize metal detectors, the Superintendent or designee shall establish procedures to ensure that metal detector searches are conducted in a uniform and consistent manner. These procedures will also ensure that metal detector searches are conducted in a random fashion and exclude individual discretion as to who will be searched. Before metal detectors, either hand held or walk through are used, the Superintendent must approve of such use.

Use of Trained Contraband Detection Dogs

In an effort to keep the schools free of drugs, the district may use specially trained nonaggressive dogs to sniff out and alert staff to the presence of substances prohibited by law or district policy. The dogs may sniff the air around lockers, desks, or vehicles on district property or at district-sponsored events. The district shall not allow the dogs to sniff within the close proximity of students or other individuals on campus and the dogs may not sniff any personal items on those persons without their consent.

The above inspections shall be unannounced and may be made at the discretion of the Superintendent or designee.

Students and parents/guardians shall be informed of this policy at the beginning of each school year.

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

32280-32289 School safety plans

35160 Authority of governing boards

35160.1 Broad authority of school districts

48900-48927 Suspension and expulsion

49050-49051 Searches by school employees

49330-49334 Injurious objects

PENAL CODE

626.9 Firearms

626.10 Dirks, daggers, knives or razor

1546 et seq. Electronic Communications Privacy Act

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION

Article I, Section 28(c) Right to Safe Schools

COURT DECISIONS

Gordon J. v. Santa Ana Unified School District (1984) 162 Cal.App.3d 530

Safford Unified Sch. Dist. #1 v. Redding, (2009) 557 U.S. 364

B.C. v. Plumas, (9th Cir. 1999) 192 F.3d 1260

Jennings v. Joshua Independent School District, (5th Cir. 1989) 877 F.2d 313

O'Connor v. Ortega, (1987) 480 U.S. 709

New Jersey v. T.L.O., (1985) 469 U.S. 325

Horton v. Goose Creek Independent School District, (5th Cir. 1982) 690 F.2d 470

Zamora v. Pomeroy, (10th Cir. 1981) 639 F.2d 662

ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS

83 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 257 (2000)

75 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 155 (1992)

Management Resources:

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF JUSTICE PUBLICATIONS

The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools: A Guide for Schools and Law Enforcement Agencies, 1999

WEB SITES

CSBA: http://www.csba.org

California Attorney General's Office: http://caag.state.ca.us

California Department of Education, Safe Schools: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss

National Institute of Justice: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij

Policy ELK GROVE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

adopted: October 29, 1984 Elk Grove, California

revised: June 19, 1995

revised: April 4, 2017