Search and Seizure
The Board of Education recognizes its obligation to balance the privacy rights of its students with its responsibility to provide student, staff, and authorized visitors with a safe, hygienic, and alcohol/drug-free learning environment (Policy 5771). The Board directs administrators, when there is reasonable suspicion that a violation of the District policy, school rules, the student Code of Conduct, or the laws of the State of Indiana has occurred, to conduct a search of a student and the student’s belongings, including the student’s vehicle.
Anything found in the course of a search pursuant to Policy 5771 which constitutes evidence of a violation of a law or a school rule or which endangers the safety or health of any person shall be seized and utilized as evidence, if appropriate. If requested in writing within thirty (30) days of the confiscation of seized items, seized items of value shall be returned to the owner or parent/guardian of students if the items may be lawfully possessed by the owner and the item is not part of an ongoing investigation, required as evidence in legal proceedings or ordered by the court to be held in the possession of the MSDWT. Tobacco products and alcohol will not be returned and will be destroyed by authorized MSDWT personnel. Seized items will be held either in a secure location within a school or within a designated secure locations designated by the MSDWT School Police Department. At the conclusion of each school year, all seized items will be disposed of in accordance with the law.
A parent/guardian seeking return of confiscated property involved in the discipline of a student will be required to:
- Provide picture identification such as a current Indiana driver’s license, Indiana identification card, or the equivalent credential from another state, or passport; and
- Provide proof of ownership of the confiscated property.
Student Lockers, Desks and Storage Areas
A student who uses a locker, desk, and/or storage area that is the property of the MSDWT is presumed to have no expectation of privacy in that locker or the locker’s contents.
A principal or principal’s designee may, in accordance with the rules of the Board of Education, search a student’s locker and the locker’s contents at any time. In addition, any teacher or member of the administrative staff may search student desks and storage areas at any time.
A law enforcement agency (this includes School Police Officers of the MSDWT School Police Department) having jurisdiction over the geographic area in which the school is located may):
- At the request of the school principal; and
- In accordance with rules of the Board of Education of the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township, assist a school administrator in searching a student’s locker and the locker’s contents.
The MSDWT will provide each student and each student’s parent/guardian a copy of the rules of the governing body on searches of students’ lockers and locker contents upon request.