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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
AP 352 - Student Questioning and Search

This procedure is intended to ensure an atmosphere that is safe and conducive to students’ learning.

All procedures are subject to statutes covering youth as outlined under The Charter of Rights and The Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The principal has the right to carry out search and seizure of a student's or students' person and/or property in the school based upon reasonable suspicion of theft and possession of prohibitive substances and prohibited articles.


1.  General Procedure for Searches
1.1.  Where it is deemed necessary to conduct a search, the following procedure shall apply:
1.2.  The principal will explain to the student the reason for the search and request the student's consent to proceed.
1.3.  Should the student refuse to co-operate in the search, the school-based administration will explain to the student that:
1.3.1.  The procedures of this procedure may be invoked; or
1.3.2.  The parent(s)/caregiver(s) will be called to attend, and the request for consent and co-operation will be repeated; and/or
1.3.3.  The police will be called to attend, to provide greater jurisdiction in the conduct of the search.
1.4.  The search will be conducted by the principal and one professional staff member of the same gender as the student(s) being searched. Effort shall be made to allow the student(s) voluntary disclosure of the suspected article(s).
1.5.  Failure of student(s) to comply with voluntary disclosure will result in a search being carried out in the least intrusive manner based on the surrounding circumstances.
1.6.  Documentation of the search shall be forwarded to the Superintendent of Learning Services who shall in turn inform the Director of Education (or designate). Parents or caregivers will be notified of any search that takes place.
2.  Searches of Property
2.1.  The principal shall have the right and the responsibility to carry out routine administrative searches of lockers and other school property to insure the safety of the student(s). Students agree to locker investigation upon signing AF 300 – Student Registration Form as per AP 359 - Locker Use Agreement.
2.2.  The principal or designated supervisor shall have the right to search student book bags and gym bags when the principal or supervisor has reasonable suspicion.
2.3.  The principal shall notify the police in cases where a vehicle driven by a student is suspected of containing prohibited articles. The principal shall notify the parents and request a search of the vehicle in cases where calling the police is not warranted.
2.4.  The principal may search a student’s person only with the student's permission. The principal shall have a staff member of the same gender as the student perform the search. The principal must have one other staff member of the same gender present during the search.
2.5.  An emergency search shall be conducted when the principal or staff feels that the circumstances are detrimental to the welfare of student(s), school buildings and/or property. The search shall be in accordance with the processes outlined above and every effort shall be made to have the student(s) receive medical attention when deemed necessary.
2.6.  The principal shall have the authority to authorize the search of student lockers. The lockers are loaned to students for storage of legal items. If the school-based administration believes that there are reasonable grounds for a locker search, he/she shall be considered to have the expressed permission of the Division to conduct a search or to allow the RCMP to conduct a search. Reasonable grounds shall be constituted by whatever sources of information the principal has access to including teachers, support staff, or students.
2.7.  There shall be no reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to a police dog locker search for narcotics. The principal can perform random searches to ascertain if narcotics are or have been stored in a locker.
2.8.  Students who are found to be in possession of narcotics will be dealt with accordance with Procedure AP 356 - Drug Incident.
3.  Warranted Searches
3.1.  In the event that a police officer deems it necessary to search school properties and presents a warrant to that effect, the Principal shall be informed immediately.
3.2.  The Principal shall then conduct the officer to the areas under suspicion.
3.3.  The Principal shall inform the parent(s)/caregiver(s) of the student(s) under suspicion that a search has taken place. The results of such a search are the responsibility of the police.
4.  Seizure of Prohibited Property

Where as a result of a search prohibited articles are found, the following procedures shall apply:
4.1.  All prohibited articles will be seized;
4.2.  Upon seizure, the teacher and/or principal will document the information and affix their signature, noting:
4.2.1.  Date of seizure,
4.2.2.  From whom the articles seized;
4.2.3.  The quantity of each article seized; and
4.2.4.  Where possible, the signature of the person from whom seizure took place.
4.3.  The documentation and all seized articles will be placed in the possession of the principal;
4.4.  After such time that actions pertaining to disciplinary function are complete, disposal of seized articles may be arranged;
4.5.  If the articles are considered legal, the item(s) will be turned over to the parents or caregivers. This will be done when the parents/caregivers are interviewed following the seizure; and
4.6.  Prohibited articles will be disposed of in such a fashion that it is rendered useless, within legal statute. Documentation of disposal should be made and signed by the principal.
5.  Questioning
5.1.  The principal shall have the authority to question any student(s) who fails to comply with policies of the school or the Division. When the evidence leads the principal to believe that a criminal offense has taken place, the principal may request the services of the police when questioning.
5.2.  In conjunction with this, the rights of the student(s) will be protected in accordance with police procedure, or by the principal acting in “loco parentis”.
5.3.  The principal will notify the parents as well as the Director of Education (or designate).
5.4.  Prior to questioning a student on matters related to prohibited articles, school personnel must determine the course of action they intend to follow. Two basic courses are available either under jurisdiction of The Education Act, 1995 or the legal system.
5.4.1.  Under the authority of The Education Act, 1995, the principal may question a student in the attempt to determine the facts related to incidents that affect the welfare of the school. Refusal to respond to these questions may be considered overt opposition to authority and the principal may take action as per Procedure 02-301: Student Discipline.
5.4.2.  Should the questioning take place with the understanding that legal action may follow; the principal would be considered a person of authority and therefore must conform to the procedures as established by The Youth Criminal Justice Act. The act provides the student with the right to refuse to answer questions without counsel. In cases of this nature, responsibility for further investigation is turned over to legal authorities.
5.5.  In the event that the police determine that it is necessary to question a student, the principal shall be notified immediately. The principal shall attempt to notify the parents of the student prior to any police questioning. In the event that parents are notified but not available to personally attend, they may request the principal to act in their place to safeguard the student's rights. When in the opinion of the principal, either the school or the police may deem further action necessary; a complete written report of the incident shall be forwarded to the designated Superintendent of Learning Services. Resource personnel, in the course of their duties, may find it necessary to visit a school and to interview certain students. In each case the following procedure shall be followed:
5.5.1.  The resource personnel will be expected to report to the office of the school-based administration and make known the purpose of his/her visit.
5.5.2.  Prior to talking to the student, the resource personal shall contact parents/caregivers, except in those cases as considered under section AP 325 - Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.
5.5.3.  Upon the receipt of parental/caregiver permission, the principal will bring the student to the office where the interview will take place.
5.5.4.  Prior to removing a student from the school, principal shall request that the police contact the parent(s)/caregiver(s) to inform them of the course of action being taken.
5.6.  It is the duty of the principal to request that the above procedure be followed. Any violation of the above-cited procedure shall be immediately reported to the Director (or designate).

Reference: The Charter of Rights
The Youth Criminal Justice Act
Sections 85, 87, 108, 109, 175, Education Act
Child and Family Services Act

March 31, 2011
Revised October 11, 2017