Search and Seizure

  • In order to maintain order and security in the schools, school authorities are authorized to conduct reasonable searches of school property and equipment, as well as of students and their personal effects. “School authorities” includes school resource officers.

    School Property and Equipment as well as Personal Effects Left There by Students

    School authorities may inspect and search school property and equipment owned or controlled by the school (such as lockers, desks, and parking lots), as well as personal effects left there by a student, without notice to or the consent of the student. Students have no reasonable expectation of privacy in these places or areas or in their personal effects left there.

    The Superintendent may request the assistance of law enforcement officials to conduct inspections and searches of lockers, desks, parking lots, and other school property or equipment for illegal drugs, weapons, or other illegal or dangerous substances or materials, including searches conducted through the use of specially trained dogs.

    Students

    School authorities may search a student and/or the student's personal effects in the student's possession (such as purses, wallets, knapsacks, book bags, lunch boxes, etc.) when there is a reasonable ground for suspecting that the search will produce evidence the particular student has violated or is violating either the law or the district's student conduct rules. The search itself must be conducted in a manner which is reasonably related to its objectives and not excessively intrusive in light of the student's age and sex, and the nature of the infraction.

    When feasible, the search should be conducted as follows:

    • Outside the view of others, including students;
    • In the presence of a school administrator or adult witness; and
    • By a certificated employee or police liaison officer of the same sex as the student.

    Immediately following a search, a written report shall be made by the school authority who conducted the search, and given to the Superintendent. 

    Seizure of Property

    If a search produces evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the District's policies or rule, such evidence may be seized and impounded by school authorities, and disciplinary action may be taken. When appropriate, such evidence may be transferred to law enforcement authorities.

    Notification Regarding Student Accounts or Profiles on Social Networking Websites

    The Superintendent or designee shall notify students and their parents/guardians of each of the following in accordance with the Right to Privacy in the School Setting Act, 105 ILCS 75/:

    1. School officials may not request or require a student or his or her parent/guardian to provide a password or other related account information to gain access to the student’s account or profile on a social networking website.
    2. School officials may conduct an investigation or require a student to cooperate in an investigation if there is specific information about activity on the student’s account on a social networking website that violates a school disciplinary rule or policy. In the course of an investigation, the student may be required to share the content that is reported in order to allow school officials to make a factual determination.

    Canine Searches

    Creating and maintaining a safe environment for our students and staff is one of the most important tasks educators have. It is with this in mind that each junior high school in Community Consolidated School District 15 partners with local law enforcement to conduct up to two (2) unannounced canine searches each year for illegal drugs.

    All canine searches are limited in scope to lockers and other common areas (e.g., gym lockers, library, etc.) with building administration being present throughout the exercise. When a canine search is being conducted, the school is placed into a soft-lockdown. A soft-lockdown requires students and staff to remain in their classroom where instruction continues to take place.

    In the event that illegal drugs are found during a canine search, building administration conducts a full investigation that would most likely involve the participation of our school resource officer and appropriate school-based and legal consequences would be issued.

    Junior high administration will inform parents and staff of each canine search after it has taken place.

    Additional information about searches in Community Consolidated School District 15 can be found in Board of Education Policy 7:140 Search and Seizure.