5145.12 – Students – Search and Seizure

Policy –
Regulation – x
Exhibit –

Adopted – 02/08/2018
Revised – 10/25/2018

Use of Metal Detectors

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that the following safeguards are used when making metal detector scans:

1. Before walk-through, students shall be asked to empty their pockets and belongings of metallic objects.

2. If an initial metal detector activation occurs, students shall be asked to remove other metallic objects that they may be wearing (e.g., belt and jewelry) and to walk through a second time.

3. If a second activation occurs, a hand-held metal detector shall be used.

4. If the activation is not eliminated or explained, staff shall escort the student to a private area where an expanded search shall be conducted by a staff member of the same gender as the student in the presence of another district employee.

5. The search shall be limited to the detection of the cause of the activation.

Use of Contraband Detection Dogs

Contraband detection dogs shall not be used in classrooms or other district facilities when the rooms are occupied, except for demonstration purposes with the handler present. When used for demonstration purposes, the dog shall be separated from the students and not allowed to sniff any individual.

Prior to conducting an inspection, students shall be asked to leave the room that will be subject to the canine sniff. No student shall be forced to leave personal items behind for inspection, unless school officials have reasonable suspicion to search the item.

Only the dog’s official handler shall determine what constitutes an alert by the dog. If the dog alerts on a particular item or place, the student having the use of that item or place, or responsibility for it, shall be called to witness the inspection. If a dog alerts on a locked vehicle, the student who brought the vehicle onto district property shall be asked to unlock it for inspection.

(cf. 5131.6 – Alcohol and Other Drugs)
(cf. 5144.1 – Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)


At the beginning of each school year and upon enrollment, the Superintendent or designee shall inform students and parents/guardians about the district’s policies and procedures for searches, including notice regarding:

1. The possibility of random searches of students, their belongings, their vehicles parked on district property, and district properties under a student’s control, including lockers or desks

2. The district’s contraband dog detection program

3. The use of metal detector scans

In addition, the Superintendent or designee shall ensure that signs are posted at all schools at which metal detectors are to be used to explain that anyone may be scanned by metal detectors for guns, knives, or other illegal weapons when on campus or attending athletic or extracurricular events.

Search of Student Cell Phones and Electronic Devices

School officials who wish to search a student’s phone/electronic device must adhere to the general rules for individual searches discussed in Board Policy 5145.12. In addition to the general individual search rules, officials wishing to search student electronic devices should follow the following procedures:

1. Student Consent: request the student to submit to a search of their electronic device (Pen. Code § 1546.1(a)(3)

2. Parent/Guardian Consent: if the student does not consent, request parent/guardian consent.

3. Emergency Exception: if the search is desired because of a good faith belief that is necessary to prevent a present emergency and risk of death or serious physical injury to any person, the search may be conducted without consent. The emergency exception does not apply to a search necessary to find evidence of past wrongs, even if those past wrongs resulted in death or serious physical injury.

4. Non-Emergency Situations: if a student’s conduct does not fall under the emergency exception, or otherwise constitute a serious act of wrongdoing, and consent has not been granted:
a. Consider whether alternative sources will suffice, and
b. If proprietary of search is in question, contact the Superintendent’s office.

5. Temporary Possession of Electronic Device by Administrators:
a. Administrators may hold on to a student electronic device while an investigation is presently occurring to prevent tampering with other student witnesses or the destruction of evidence.
b. Holding on to a student’s electronic device while awaiting confirmation from the Superintendent’s office on whether a search without consent is appropriate.
c. Holding on to a student’s electronic device while waiting for law enforcement personnel to arrive is appropriate.

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