Police Contact and Intervention
SFUSD recognizes the serious potential consequences for youth of juvenile court involvement and wishes to avoid unnecessary criminalization of our students.
A. Requesting Police Assistance/Police Do Not Handle School Discipline.
Staff members and site administrators shall only request police assistance when (1) necessary to protect the physical safety of students or staff; (2) required by law; or (3) appropriate to address criminal behavior of persons other than students. Police are not to act as school disciplinarians and police involvement should not be requested in a situation that can be safely and appropriately handled by the District’s internal disciplinary procedures. (SFUSD Board Resolution No. 92-23A6, Adopted June 22, 1999)
B. Procedure to Request Police Assistance.
(1) Call 911 in an emergency or crisis situation, and notify site administrator as soon as possible; (2) if there is no immediate danger to students or staff, a staff member should contact a site administrator to make the decision about whether to request police assistance for an incident involving potentially criminal behavior by a student, based on criteria in Section A; (3) notify Leadership, Equity, Achievement and Design (LEAD) Office and prepare a written incident report the same day to detail police response to incident. Disproportionate use of police intervention in inappropriate situations shall be cause for corrective action by the District. (SFUSD BoardResolution No. 92-23A6, Adopted June 22, 1999)
C. Police Interrogations.
Properly identified law enforcement officers will be permitted to interview students on school premises as suspects or witnesses if the law enforcement officer has legal authority to conduct the interview, which includes: a warrant, court order, parent/guardian consent, or in exigent circumstances. If the law enforcement officer has a warrant, court order, parent/guardian consent, or exigent circumstances exist, the principal or designee shall accommodate the interview in a way that causes the least possible disruption to the school process and gives the student appropriate privacy.
Except in situations where the student is a suspected victim of child abuse, the school must immediately call the student’s parents. Efforts to contact parents must include calling all numbers listed on an emergency card and any number supplied by the student. Parents must be given reasonable opportunity to come to the school and be present for any police interview. If a parent cannot be found, the school site should offer the student the option of having an adult of their choice from the school available during an interview. In cases where the principal or designee is unable to contact the student’s parent/guardian before the interview begins, the principal or designee shall notify the parent/guardian as soon as practicable after the law enforcement officer has interviewed the student on school premises. (SFUSD Board Policy 5145.11)
State law and SF Ordinance require that prior to a custodial interrogation, and before the waiver of any Miranda rights, police shall allow a student 17 years of age or younger to consult with legal counsel in person, by telephone, or by video conference. The consultation may not be waived. (Welfare & Institutions Code Section 625.6; SF Administrative Code Chapter 96C).
D. Arrests at School.
Prior to making an arrest, SFUSD expects that the police officer will consider the reasonableness of making the arrest at school by considering various factors (whether it is a school-related offense; the seriousness of the offense; whether there is an imminent threat to public safety; legal requirements; whether the arrest can be accomplished by other means). If the officer determines that arrest is necessary, s/he should coordinate with the principal or designee to find a private location out of sight and sound of other students, to the extent practicable and absent exigent circumstances.
The San Francisco Police Department and the San Francisco Youth Commission developed a two-page brochure titled “Know Your Rights for Youth in San Francisco” is included in chapter 6.4.4 This brochure gives students an idea of what to expect when encountering/interacting with police.