School SearchesStudents' 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 PrivacyA 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 Use and Responsibility Policy for Electronic Communications ("Archdiocesan AUP") and