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​​​Students' legitimate expectation of privacy in their person and in the personal effects they bring to school must be balanced against the school's obligation to maintain discipline and provide a safe environment for the school community. School officials may conduct a search of a student's person and personal effects only upon a reasonable suspicion that the search will disclose evidence that the student is violating or has violated the law or a school rule.

If school officials have a reasonable suspicion that the student has violated or is violating the law or a school rule, school officials do not need a warrant or permission from parents/guardians to conduct the search.

A "reasonable suspicion" may be established in many ways, including but not limited to personal observations, information provided by third parties or other students, or tips provided by law enforcement. An alert from a trained and certified detection dog is sufficient to establish a reasonable suspicion and serve as the basis for a warrantless search of the student's person, locker, car, or personal property and effects.

Whenever a school official conducts a search of a student's person or personal effects, an adult witness should be present. The school should notify the student's parents/guardians of any search of a student's person or personal effects.

Expectations of Privacy


A student does not own a locker or other school property. The school makes lockers available to the student. The student does have some expectation of privacy in his or her locker from other students. However, a student does not have a high expectation of privacy in his or her locker from the school and may not prevent school officials from searching the locker if the school official has a reasonable suspicion that the student has violated or is violating a law or school rule.

A student has a greater expectation of privacy regarding his or her person and personal effects. A school official who conducts a search of a student's backpack, purse, clothing, cell phone, or other personal effects must have a reasonable suspicion that the student has violated or is violating a law or school rule. Strip searches or searches that include a student's underwear may only be conducted by law enforcement and may not be conducted by a school official.

Every student is subject to the Acceptable U​​se and Responsibility Policy for Electronic Communications ("Archdiocesan AUP")​​ and Archdiocese of Los Angeles P​​rivacy Policy of the archdiocese and school; these types of policies concern cell phones and other electronic devices, whether the devices belong to the student or the school.

Student Cooperation

If a student refuses to cooperate in a reasonable search of school or student property (including electronic devices), the school may call the student's parents/guardians and/or the police for assistance or referral.

Confiscating a Student's Personal Property

If any of the student's items are confiscated, the person in charge should document the confiscation and when possible, take a photograph of the place where the confiscated object was found and of the object itself. It is also recommended that the school obtain a signature from the student acknowledging that the item was in his or her possession at the time it was found.


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