FNF(REGULATION) - STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: INVESTIGATIONS AND SEARCHES
Investigation of Student Misconduct
School administrators, as the primary disciplinarians within the District, are charged with the duty of investigating allegations of student misconduct. District police officers shall not be used to investigate routine allegations of student misconduct. The District police may be called in the following instances:
When the investigation suggests that the student has committed a criminal offense;
When the administrator needs assistance in securing a weapon;
When a student is highly agitated or violent;
When the administrator is fearful the student may injure the administrator or any other individual;
When the administrator believes that the officer's particular expertise or judgment is necessary.
Questioning Students During an Investigation
Whenever possible the administrator should interview the student outside the presence of other students. The student may produce a written statement or he or she may speak into a tape recorder. If a tape recording is made, the statement shall be transcribed, and a copy shall be presented to the student for the student's signature within 24 hours of the interview. Parental permission is not necessary before questioning a student.
The administrator shall not make any false promises to the student to secure a statement. For example, it is impermissible to tell a student that he or she will receive a lighter punishment if he or she confesses.
The administrator shall not use coercive threats to secure a statement. For example, it is impermissible to tell a student that he or she definitely will be expelled if he or she does not confess.
Random Use of Walk-Through Metal Detectors
Random screenings of students entering or exiting a classroom, a school bus, or other area designated by the campus principal by use of a walk-through metal detector shall be conducted in accordance with the following procedures:
The campus principal or designee shall conduct a minimum of two screenings per week with each screening determined each Monday by the appropriate number of drawings from a container containing all classroom numbers, class periods, bus numbers, names of all designated areas, and all dates that school is in session that week. The drawn information shall be kept confidential by the campus administrative team and the Spring ISD Police Department.
Immediately following selection of the classroom(s), and/or bus(es) to be screened and the time(s) of the screening(s), the campus principal or designee shall notify the on-duty Communications Officer at the Spring ISD Police Department to arrange for the District's Canine Unit to be available at the screening.
No more than 20 minutes before the screening, the staff member designated to transport the walk-through metal detector, appropriate campus administrators, the assigned Campus Police Officer, and the Canine Officer shall set up the walk-through metal detector at the entrance to the selected classroom, bus stop, or other designated location.
During the walk-through metal detector set-up period and throughout the walk-through screening process, all District staff present shall be alert to suspicious behavior by students that may indicate that items, property, or devices are being concealed, hidden, or abandoned in the classroom, the bus, or other designated area.
Students shall pass through the walk-through metal detector individually and without backpacks, book bags, or purses in accordance with the manufacturer's operational procedures for the detector.
Backpacks, book bags, and purses shall be screened by hand-held metal detectors or trained dogs. After either a hand-held metal detector or trained dog reacts to the contents of a backpack, book bag, or purse, campus administrative or instructional personnel shall manually and visually search that article. It is preferable that purses be screened by female administrators or teachers.
A student who fails the walk-through metal detector screening two consecutive times shall be additionally screened by a hand-held metal detector in accordance with procedures listed at USE OF HAND-HELD METAL DETECTORS below.
If a specific area of alert is found with the hand-held metal detector, the Campus Officer may conduct a more thorough screening, including a "pat down" of the student and outer clothing, in accordance with procedures listed below. The screening by the Campus Officer shall be conducted in a more private area not visible by other students and with one or more adult witnesses present.
If cause exits for an even more thorough screening of the student, the student's parent or guardian shall be contacted to come to the school to observe that screening.
The Canine Unit may be used to screen the classroom, bus, or other designated area after all students have exited.
Student Code of Conduct violations determined as the result of the screening shall be handled by the campus administration. Students who refuse to participate in the screening will be subject to disciplinary consequences. The Spring ISD Police Department shall determine criminal violations as a result of the screening.
Search of Students by School Personnel
No school official or District police officer may search a student or the student's belongings unless the school official has a reasonable suspicion that a student has violated a specific rule or law and the school official reasonably expects that the search could produce evidence of that violation.
The search must be reasonably related to the objects sought. For example, if a school official is searching for a handgun, it is inappropriate to look inside envelopes and small containers.
The search must not be excessively intrusive in light of the student's age, sex, and nature of the infraction. For example, the search of a ten-year-old for unauthorized candy or gum necessarily will be less intrusive than the search of a 16-year-old for an illegal knife.
A school official or District police officer conducting a lawful search for a particular item may seize other contraband identified during the search if the other contraband is found within the scope of the original search and is in plain view.
All searches shall be conducted in the following manner:
If reasonable suspicion exits, the school official may pat down the outside of the student's garments. The school official may ask the student to remove an outer garment or hat, to empty all pockets, or to remove shoes and socks.
No school official may conduct a strip search. If the school official believes that such a search is necessary, the school official shall call the student's parent.
Any search of a student's person should be conducted in a private room or area if circumstances permit. The person conducting the search must be of the same gender as the student. An adult witness must be present during the search.
The school official conducting the search shall complete the designated form. [Exhibit A]
The school official completing the search shall take all reasonable precautions to ensure the security of the objects found. Weapons, controlled substances, or dangerous objects shall be turned over to the District police as soon as practicable. If the contraband needs to be tested, the school official shall call the Area Superintendent who will contact the individual or company designated by the District to test the contraband.
Use of Hand-Held Metal Detectors
Hand-held metal detectors may be used only when the administrator or District police officer has a reasonable suspicion that a particular student may be in possession of a weapon. Hand-held metal detectors may not be used to conduct random checks or to screen a large group of students. "Fishing expeditions" are expressly prohibited.
The following procedures apply:
If the administrator or District police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the student possesses a weapon, he or she may use the hand-held metal detectors to scan the student's body. The administrator will inform the student that the metal detector detects most metallic objects. If the student refuses to permit the scanning, the administrator may conduct a pat down or the administrator or District police office may call the student's parent.
The metal detector shall be held one to two inches away from the student's body. The metal detector shall not touch the student's body. The administrator or District police officer shall begin by scanning the form of the student's body, left to right, the back of the body, left to right, the arms and underarm area; and hair and caps. When scanning shoes, boots, and hightop athletic shoes, the scanner should be held one to two inches above the floor.
If the metal detector indicates the presence of metallic objects, the student will be asked if he or she has anything that might be causing a positive reaction. The student will be asked to empty his or her pockets and the scanning procedure will be repeated.
Administrators shall conduct the screening in the presence of a District police officer whenever possible. If a weapon is found, the administrator or officer shall disarm the student and secure the weapon. The person conducting the search shall complete the designated form (Exhibit A). The school official or police officer completing the search shall take all reasonable precautions to ensure the security of the weapon.
Use of Canines on Campus
Trained dogs, under the supervision of certified handlers, may be used to sniff student lockers, desks, and student or staff automobiles parked on school property. These dogs may not be used to sniff students or their personal property, such as purses and backpacks (except for personal property found in lockers). A District police officer or administrator shall accompany the certified canine handler during the visit if the certified canine handler is not a District police officer. [See FNF(LOCAL)]
If a dog reacts positively to a locker, desk, automobile, or other object or area, the administrator or District police officer shall summon the student to the area. The administrator or the District police officer shall tell the student that the dog has alerted on his or her property. If the property is locked, the administrator or District police officer shall then request the student to unlock the property.
If the student consents to the search, the District police officer or school administrator or both shall initiate the search of the property in the student's presence. If contraband is found (e.g., drugs, alcoholic beverage container, firearm), the person conducting the search shall show the contraband to the student. The contraband shall then be placed in an empty transparent bag or container. The empty bag or container shall be shown to the student before placing the contraband inside it.
The person conducting the search shall complete the designated form (Exhibit A).
Student Refusal to Consent to a Search
If the student declines to open the locker, the administrator or officer may proceed with the search.
If the student declines to unlock his or her vehicle, the student's parent will be called. If the parent does not give permission for the search, a District officer may obtain and execute a search warrant if appropriate.