Policies » Section J: Students » JIH: Student Searches And Their Property
Policy Date: 05/01/2001Download Policy Now
HSD File: JIH
HOOKSETT SCHOOL DISTRICT
STUDENT SEARCHES AND THEIR PROPERTY
A student is subject to search by district staff if reasonable grounds exist to suspect that evidence
of a violation of the law or school rules will be uncovered. School staff shall report a student’s
suspicious activity to the Principal prior to initiating a search, except in emergency situations.
Establishing Reasonable Grounds
The following review of the basis for search should occur before conducting a search:
1. The student’s suspicious conduct, behavior, or activity.
2. The source of the information.
3. The reliability of the source of information.
B. If suspicion could be confirmed, would such conduct be a violation of the law or school
C. Is the student likely to possess or have concealed any item, material or substance which
is itself prohibited or which would be evidence of a violation of the law or school rule?
Conducting the Search
If the Principal or his/her designee determines that reasonable grounds exist to search a student’s
clothing, personal effects, desk, locker, assigned storage area, or automobile the search shall be
conducted as follows:
A. If evidence of criminal activity is suspected to be present, and prosecution by civil
authorities will be recommended if confirmed by the search, consult law enforcement
officials regarding the appropriateness of a search by a law enforcement officer.
B. If evidence of violation of a school rule is suspected, and if that is confirmed by the
search, the matter will be handled solely as a student discipline action. The Principal or
designee will proceed to search by asking the student to remove all items from pockets,
purses, handbags, backpacks, gym bags, etc.
C. If the student refuses to cooperate in a personal search, the student should be held until
the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) are available to consent to the search. If a parent
or guardian cannot be reached in a reasonable time, the Principal or designee may
conduct the search without the parent(s) or guardian(s) consent.
Lockers, desks, and storage areas are the property of the school district. When assigned a
locker, desk, or storage area, a student shall be responsible for its proper care. A student may
be subject to a fine for any willful damage to school property. Students are encouraged to keep
their assigned lockers closed and locked.
A student’s locker, desk, or storage area may be searched by district staff if reasonable grounds
exist to suspect that evidence of a violation of the law or school rules will be uncovered. School
staff shall report a student’s suspicious activity to the Principal or designee prior to initiating a
search, except in emergency situations when the risk of harm to students or staff demands
The Principal or designee should refer to these procedures for conducting searches of students
and their property for guidance in establishing whether a search is reasonable under the
The Principal or designee may search all lockers, desks, or storage areas without prior notice
given to students and without reasonable suspicion that the search will yield evidence of any
particular student’s violation of the law or school rules.
Administrative inspections, or health and welfare inspections, may be conducted at any time for
the purpose of locating misplaced library books, textbooks or other school property or to ensure
that all lockers, desks, or storage areas are being kept clean and free from potential health or
safety hazards. Periodic inspections of lockers will reinforce the district’s ownership of lockers
and the minimal expectation of privacy students have in the contents of their lockers.
During a search of all student lockers, if the school official conducting the search discovers any
container within the locker which may conceal contraband, the container may be searched
according to the district’s procedures governing searches of students and their property. A
“container” for the purpose of this policy may include, but is not limited to: an article of clothing,
a handbag, purse, backpack, gym bag, or any other item within which contraband material may
References: NH Constitution, Pt.1, Art.19
State v. Drake, 139 NH 662 (195)
Adopted: February 15, 1994
Adopted: May 1, 2001