(SFUSD Board Policy 5145.12)

School officials may search any individual student, their property, or district property under their control when there is a reasonable suspicion that the search will uncover evidence that they are violating the law, Board policy, administrative regulation, or other rules of the district or the school. Reasonable suspicion shall be based on specific and objective facts that the search will produce evidence related to the alleged violation.  Mere curiosity, rumor or innuendo do not constitute reasonable suspicion.  The types of student property that may be searched by school officials with reasonable suspicion include, but are not limited to, lockers, desks, purses, backpacks, student vehicles parked on district property.

Any search of a student, their property, or district property under their control shall be limited in scope and designed to produce evidence related to the alleged violation. The search shall not extend beyond that which is necessary to produce evidence of the violation(s) for which there is reasonable suspicion.  Factors to be considered by school officials when determining the scope of the search shall include the danger to the health or safety of students or staff, including but not limited to the possession of weapons, drugs, or other dangerous instruments, and whether the item(s) to be searched by school officials are reasonably related to the contraband or evidence to be found. In addition, school officials shall consider the intrusiveness of the search in light of the student's age, gender, and the nature of the alleged violation.

Employees shall not conduct strip searches or body cavity searches of any student.

Searches of individual students shall be conducted in the presence of at least two district employees.  The principal or designee shall notify the parent/guardian of a student subjected to an individualized search as soon as possible after the search.

Employees shall not conduct searches of cellular phones and/or other permitted electronic communication devices, except under the circumstances permitted by state and federal law, including: (1) consent has been given, (2) pursuant to a search warrant, (3) pursuant to an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person that requires access to the device, or (4) based on a good faith belief that the device has been lost, stolen, or abandoned and the search is done only to attempt to identify, verify, or contact the owner of the device. (CA Penal Code 1546.1)

All student lockers and desks are the property of the district. The principal or designee may conduct a general inspection of school properties that are within the control of students, such as lockers and desks, on a regular, announced basis, with students standing by their assigned lockers or desks. Any items contained in a locker or desk shall be considered to be the property of the student to whom the locker or desk was assigned.


This page was last updated on November 3, 2020