SEARCHES AND INTERROGATIONS
It is the policy of the Smithfield School Committee that all property is retained by the School Committee. All lockers, closets, and desks are retained and possessory control is maintained by the Smithfield School Committee. Students are entrusted to the care and custody of the School Department for the purpose of education. Teachers and administrators are employed for the purpose of carrying out the educational mandates of the State Constitution and the General Laws. All are entitled to perform in a safe environment free of dangerous weapons and drugs.
In order to preserve the educational decorum, all school property including, but not limited to, school lockers, desks, and closets are subject to search as determined necessary and appropriate.
SEARCH AND SEIZURE
Periodic searches may be conducted for any reason, at any time, without notice, without student consent, and without a search warrant. The following rules shall apply to searches of students, school property, the property of individuals while enroute to or from school, to or from school events on school buses, or in automobiles operated by students. A search may only be conducted by authorized individuals.
1. Searches of school property may be conducted at any time.
2. A search may be conducted on any area of property under the jurisdiction of the school department and shall include items of personal property in the control of or possession of student, including that which may be abandoned or discarded.
3. Searches shall be conducted based upon reasonable suspicion that school rules or town, state, or federal laws have or will be violated.
4. School authorities are authorized to seize illegal items or contraband that may present a threat to the safety of the individual or others. Items seized shall be retained in proper order to preserve a controlled chain of custody for purposes of prosecution by the police department.
5. Items that are used, or may be used, to disrupt or interfere with the educational process or environment may be temporarily removed from a student’s possession.
6. An authorized individual is the principal, or such person as the principal may designate.
7. A search of an automobile may only be conducted with the permission of the operator and/or owner of the vehicle. Refusal to submit to such search shall be grounds to have the vehicle removed from the school property at the owner’s expense.
The use of dogs trained to detect illegal drugs and/or other contraband, whether conducted by law enforcement or others retained by the School District, may occur anywhere on school property, school vehicles, and at school events. The use of dogs to search school property, or the personal property of students or others, are not searches which require a reasonable suspicion of a violation of law or school rules. Such searches may be conduced on school property and include, but not limited to desks, lockers, closets, vehicles on school property, and items of personal property.
Any student for whom there is a reasonable suspicion of the use of alcohol before or during the school day, prior to or during school sponsored activities, or on school property, may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. School property shall include, but is not limited to, school grounds, buildings, buses, gymnasiums, facilities rented by the District, and other facilities or premises utilized for school sponsored activities and/or events. The following guidelines shall apply.
1. A student about whom there is a reasonable suspicion of consumption of alcohol may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. Indicators of reasonable suspicion may include, but not limited to, alcohol odor, slurred speech, unsteady gait, lack of coordination, presence in the vicinity of an alcohol container, bloodshot or glazed eyes, or such other information as is reasonable to raise suspicion. No breathalyzer test will be administered if a student acknowledges consumption of alcohol.
2. Breathalyzer tests shall be administered in a secure location away from other students by the principal, assistant principal or other designee who has been fully trained in breathalyzer test administration.
3. Parents will be called following the administration of the breathalyzer test. If a student tests positive, parents must transport their student home. If a parent is not available to transport a student, local police will be called. Emergency medical personnel will be sought if the student is assessed to be in need of medical assistance. Students determined to have consumed alcohol will be subject to disciplinary consequences outlined in the Student Handbook.
4. Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test will be considered an act of admission and will be considered along with other evidence to determine whether or not a student has consumed alcohol.
5. Random testing of participants in school sponsored events may be conducted by authorized school personnel.
6. Non-students attending school sponsored events may be subject to breathalyzer testing and failure to pass such test or refusal to submit shall be grounds to exclude such individual from participation in the event.
ADOPTED: September 1998
REVISED: January 22, 2008