(a) Reasonable Suspicion
(1) Searches of students shall only be conducted when a school official has reasonable suspicion predicated on one or more of the following:
(i) Reliable reports or information from credible sources made known to school officials. If the source is anonymous, the informant must show that the information has a relationship with the school or students so as to give it credibility.
(ii) Suspicious or evasive behavior suggesting violation of a school policy or law, or concealment of contraband, weapons or stolen property.
(iii) Observation of a student engaging in prohibited conduct or being in a restricted area.
(2) The more of these factors that are found, the greater the inference of reasonable suspicion. The school official may also take into account the student's history in the development of reasonable suspicion.
(b) Reasonable Scope
(1) The scope of the search conducted must be reasonably related to the objective sought and the evidence searched for. The search shall be no more intrusive than necessary to serve the school's legitimate objectives. In determining if the search is related to the objectives sought, the school official should consider:
(i) The nature and severity of the violation to determine the permissible amount of intrusion into the student's privacy rights.
(ii) The area to be searched so that it will be no more extensive than required to serve the school's legitimate objectives.
(iii) The time and place where the search is conducted so that it will be as close as possible to the time and place of the suspected violation.
(iv) The duration of the search so that it will be no longer than necessary to serve the school's legitimate objectives.
(2) Whenever reasonably possible the search should be conducted by school official who is the same sex as the student to be searched.
(c) Locker, Automobile and Desk Searches Searches of lockers, desks, storage spaces and other property owned jointly by the PSS and the student may be conducted whenever reasonable suspicion exists to believe that contraband, weapons or prohibited items are concealed therein. Notice of the joint ownership of lockers and
desks shall be given to the student body at the beginning of each school year or more often as required. (See form 2150 for an example of such a notice).
(d) Canine Searches
Canine searches shall never be conducted on a student's person and if undertaken, shall be restricted to desks, lockers and parking lots.
Surveillance shall only be conducted in hallways, school buses and other areas open to public view where the students are permitted.
(f) Consent Searches
Whenever possible the student's voluntary informed consent shall be sought before a search is conducted. However, searches normally should not be based solely on consent.
(g) Police Involvement
Police involvement shall be sought whenever school officials uncover evidence of a violation of Commonwealth or federal law or when school officials deem such involvement necessary or helpful in maintaining school discipline or safety.
After a search has been conducted, school officials shall prepare a written report, specifically detailing the objectives of the search, the scope of the search, and the circumstances and information giving rise to reasonable suspicion for the search. Copies of the report shall be immediately filed with the Commissioner of Education and PSS legal counsel.