STUDENT SEARCHES: The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects individuals from unlawful searches. However, the law allows school officials to conduct searches of students under certain circumstances.
Searches Based on Reasonable Suspicion
If a student has engaged in conduct that causes an administrative director to have reasonable suspicion that the student has committed or is about to commit a crime or has violated statutory laws or school rules, the administrative director may conduct a search of that student. The administrative director must:
- Be able to articulate the reason for his or her suspicion and the facts and/or circumstances surrounding a specific incident.
- Be able to reasonably connect the student to a specific incident, crime or rule or statute violation.
- Have relied on recent, credible information from personal knowledge and/or other eyewitnesses.
- Ensure that a search based on the reasonable suspicion is not excessively intrusive in light of the student's age and gender and the nature of the offense.
- Follow-up on a credible tip, even if anonymous.
When conducting a student search based on reasonable suspicion, school officials must adhere to the following practices:
- Conduct the search if there are clear and specific reasons for suspicion and there are facts that connect the student to a specific incident of misconduct.
- Jackets, purses, pockets, backpacks, bags, and containers in the student's possession may be searched to the extent reasonably necessary.
- Searches based on reasonable suspicion will be conducted in a private area whenever possible.
Random Metal Detector Searches
To maintain a safe campus, there will be metal detector searches of students and lockers. Every effort will be made to respect students in the course of these searches. Searches of students will be conducted with a “wand” in a fair and random manner.
Lockers are the property of GHC. Lockers can be searched, without reasonable suspicion, for safety, disciplinary, or health reasons. The school reserves the right to search any or all lockers at any time, without the student’s knowledge.
California courts and the California Attorney General's Office have approved the use of random metal detector searches for weapons. Random use of metal detectors is appropriate only if:
- The method of selection of students to be searched is genuinely random.
- Students selected to participate in random metal detector searches are selected without regard to personally identifiable characteristics such as race, gender, surname, group affiliation, or past history of misconduct (i.e., selection is random).
- The searches are minimally intrusive.
If, as a result of a metal detector search, reasonable suspicion arises that a particular student may have a weapon, school officials may conduct a search of that student in accordance with the above guidelines for reasonable suspicion searches.
A uniformed School Police Officer is assigned to the school site. Campus Aides also monitor the campus.
Canine Search Program
As part of our safety plan, periodic unannounced canine visits will take place. Any canine inspection may not be arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory.
For student and staff protection, certain areas of the school campus are subject to surveillance by cameras.
Parental Notifications of Searches/Interviews
While every effort will be made to maintain open and strong communication between the school and home, it may be necessary to administratively search and/or interview a student without notifying the parent or guardian. The school conducts daily random searches as part of the School Safety Plan.