Students' Civil & Legal Responsibilities
Search & Seizure
Desks, School Lockers, and Automobiles
Desks and school lockers are property of the schools. Parking personal vehicles is a privilege afforded to students. The right to inspect desks and lockers assigned to students, and personal automobiles parked on school property may be exercised by school officials to safeguard students, their property and school property, with reasonable care for the Fourth Amendment rights of students.
The exercise of that right to inspect also requires protection of each student's personal privacy and protection from coercion. An authorized school administrator may search a student's locker, desk, or personal automobile parked on school property under the following conditions:
1. There is reason to believe that the student's desk, locker, or personal automobile contains contraband material.
2. The probable presence of contraband material poses a serious threat to the maintenance of discipline, order, safety, and health in the school.
3. The student has been informed in advance that school board policy allows desks, lockers, and personal automobiles parked on school property to be inspected if the administration has reason to believe that materials injurious to the best interests of students and the school are contained therein.
A student may be searched if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school. The scope of the search must be reasonably related to the objectives of the search and the nature of the infraction
Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statute:
10-221 Boards of Education to prescribe
rules, policies, and procedures
New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985).
Safford Unified School District #1 v. Redding,
129 S.Ct. 2633 (2009)
Revised: February 26, 1992
Revised: October 6, 2009