Any school designee authorized to impose a disciplinary penalty on a student may question a student about an alleged violation of law, school rules or the District Code of Conduct. School officials are not required to give a "Miranda" type warning before questioning, nor are school officials required to contact a student's parent before questioning the student. However, school officials will tell all students why they are being questioned.
School officials have the right and responsibility to contact appropriate law enforcement agencies, as may be necessary, with regard to statements and information given by students to school officials.
Student Searches by School Officials
In order to maintain discipline and safety on school property and at school functions, students and their property, as well as desks, lockers, and other school property used by students, may be subject to searches by authorized school officials. However, the constitutional right of students to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures shall be protected.
The Superintendent, building administrators, school nurse, and District security officials are authorized to conduct searches of students and their belongings on school grounds if the authorized school official has reasonable suspicion to believe that the search will result in evidence that the student violated the law, school rules, or the District Code of Conduct.
An authorized school official may conduct a search of a student's belongings that is minimally intrusive, such as touching the outside of a book bag, without reasonable suspicion, so long as the school official has a legitimate reason for the very limited search.
Before searching a student or the student's belongings, the authorized school official should attempt to obtain the student's admission that he or she possesses physical evidence that they violated the law or the District Code, or get the student to voluntarily consent to the search. Searches will be limited to the extent necessary to locate the evidence sought.
Whenever practicable searches will be conducted in the privacy of administrative offices and students will be present when their possessions are being searched.
Factors that may be considered in determining whether reasonable cause exists to search a student include:
1. The age of the student;
2.The student's record and past history;
3.The predominance and seriousness of the problem in the school where the search is directed;
4.The reliability of the information used as a justification for the search;
5. The school official's prior knowledge of and experience with the student; and
6.The urgency to conduct the search without delay.
Student Lockers, Desks and Other School Storage Places
The rules in this Code of Conduct regarding searches of students and their belongings do not apply to student lockers, desks, computers and other storage places. Students have no reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to these places and school officials retain complete control over them. This means that student lockers, desks, computers, including electronic storage and other storage may be subject to search at any time by school officials, without prior notice to students and without their consent.
Personal searches on school property or at a school function may occur in accordance with Board policy and law.
Police Involvement in Searches and Interrogations
The District is committed to cooperating with law enforcement authorities to maintain a safe school environment. Police officials may interview or search students in schools or at school functions, or to use school facilities in connection with police work, in accordance with law and Board policy.
Child Protective Services Investigations
Consistent with the District's commitment to keep students safe from harm and the obligation of school officials to report to child protective services when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been abused or maltreated, the District will cooperate with local child protective services workers who wish to conduct interviews of students on school property relating to allegations of suspected child abuse, and/or neglect, or custody investigations.
The Lancaster Central School District's purpose is to provide our students with a comprehensive educational program that will allow them to develop fully the necessary academic and social skills to become responsible and productive members of a democratic society.