School Board Policy 502 -
Search of Student Lockers, Desks, Personal Possessions and Student's Person

Adopted: july 22, 1996  REVISED: june 11, 2001 revised: june 8, 2009  revised: january 11, 2010

I. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide for a safe and healthful 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 authorities 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 only 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. Inspections 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 possession 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. Searches

To support our efforts to keep our schools safe and drug free, school administrators may use dogs trained to detect contraband, including drugs or weapons, to conduct random searches of school district property including, but not limited to, buildings, student lockers, grounds, parking lots, and vehicles parked on school grounds.

E. It shall be a violation of this policy for students to use lockers and desks for unauthorized purposes or to store contraband. It shall be 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," overdue books and other materials belonging to the school district, and stolen property.

B. "Personal possessions" includes but is not limited to purses, backpacks, bookbags, packages, and clothing.

C. "Reasonable suspicion" means that a school official has 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, 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. School officials may inspect the interiors of lockers and desks for any reason at any time, without notice, without student consent, and without a search warrant.

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

C. School officials may inspect the personal possessions of a student and/or a student’s person based on a reasonable suspicion that the search will uncover a violation of law or school rules. A search of personal possessions of a student and/or a student’s person will be reasonable in its scope and intrusiveness.

D. Administrators (or principal designee) may conduct searches with the use of metal detection devices. School officials may scan a student’s personal belongings and/or scan a student’s person.

E. School administrators may use dogs trained to detect contraband, including drugs or weapons, to conduct random searches of school district property including, but not limited to, buildings, student lockers, grounds, parking lots, and vehicles parked on school grounds. When conducting a canine search, a qualified and authorized canine trainer and school administrator shall accompany the dogs. If a dog indicates that contraband, including drugs or weapons, is present on school property, school administrators will conduct a further search.

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

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

H. A strip search is a search involving the removal of coverings or clothing from private areas. Mass strip searches, or body cavity searches, are prohibited. Strip searches will be conducted only in circumstances involving imminent danger.

I. Passive breath alcohol sensor devices may be used to screen students and student’s guest for evidence of alcohol consumption at school sponsored events.

J. Administration with reasonable suspicion of student use of alcohol during the school day may use the passive breath alcohol sensor device to determine alcohol consumption.

K. A copy of this policy will be printed 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. Directives and Guidelines

School administration may establish reasonable directives and guidelines which address specific needs of the school district, such as use of tape in lockers, standards of cleanliness and care, posting of pin-ups and posters which may constitute sexual harassment, etc.

VI. 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.

VII. Violations

A student found to have violated this policy and/or the directives and guidelines implementing it shall be subject to discipline in accordance with the school district’s Student Discipline Policy, which may include suspension, exclusion, or expulsion, and the student may, when appropriate, be referred to law enforcement officials.

Legal References:
U.S. Constitution, Fourth Amendment
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 Reference:
WB:ASB Policy 417 (Chemical Use and Abuse)
WBLASB Policy 418 (Drug-Free Workplace/Drug-Free School)
WBLASB Policy 501 (School Weapons)
WBLASB Policy 506 (Student Discipline)