School District officials and employees may interview students during the school day. Generally, persons other than parents and school District officials and employees may not interview students during the school day. For purposes of this policy, the school juvenile court officer shall be considered a school employee.
Requests from law enforcement officers and from persons other than parents, school District officials, and employees to interview students are made through the principal’s office. Upon receiving a request, it is the responsibility of the principal to determine whether the request will be granted. Generally, prior to granting a request, the principal will attempt to contact the parents to inform them of the request and to ask them to be present.
If a child abuse investigator wishes to interview a student, the principal will determine whether the student should be interviewed independently from the student’s parents, whether the school is the most appropriate setting for the interview, and who will be present during the interview.
Students will not be taken from school without the consent of the principal.
545.1 Questioning of Students Regulations
I. Investigation Conducted in the Educational Environment
A. Interviews Initiated by School Administrators
- Conducted by Administrators
a. Principals shall have the authority to conduct investigations and to question students pertaining to infractions of school rules, whether or not the alleged conduct is a violation of criminal law.
2. Conducted by Law Enforcement Officers
a. The principal/designee shall determine when the necessity exists that law enforcement officers be contacted to conduct an investigation of alleged criminal behavior.
b. The principal/designee may request that law enforcement officers conduct an investigation of alleged criminal behavior during school hours. A reasonable attempt shall be made to contact the student’s parents, guardian or representative prior to questioning of students by law enforcement officers. Such contacts or attempted contacts with parents, guardian or representative shall be documented by the administrator involved. In the absence of a student’s parents, guardian or representative during any questioning of such students, the principal or other designated certificated school staff person shall be present.
c. If the investigation has centered on any particular student suspected of such alleged criminal activity, the procedure of taking students into custody by the police set forth in Section II shall be followed to the extent that they do not interfere with reasonable law enforcement procedures.
B. Interviews Initiated by Law Enforcement Officers
- Although cooperation with law enforcement officers will be maintained, it should not normally be necessary for law enforcement officers to initiate and conduct any investigation and questioning on the school premises during school hours pertaining to criminal activities unrelated to the operation of the school. Only in demonstrated emergency situations, when law enforcement officers find it absolutely necessary, will they be voluntarily permitted to conduct such an investigation during school hours. These circumstances should ordinarily be limited to those in which delay might result in danger to any person, or flight from the jurisdiction of a person reasonably suspected of a crime or destruction of evidence.
2. In such cases, the officers shall be requested to obtain prior approval of the principal/designee before beginning such an investigation on school premises. The administrator shall document the circumstances of such investigations as soon as practicable. Alleged criminal behavior related to the school environment brought to the principal’s attention by law enforcement officers shall be dealt with under Iowa law.
C. Questioning of Students During Investigation
- Violations of School Rules
a. In instances where school rules have allegedly been violated, the principal/designee may contact the suspected rule violator or potential witness to the infraction.
b. The suspected student shall be advised orally or in writing of the nature of the alleged offense and of the evidence, if any, against the student.
c. In questioning a potential student witness to an alleged disciplinary infraction, care should be taken by the administrator to insure that there is a reasonable likelihood that the student was indeed a witness.
2. Violations of Criminal Law
a. During an investigation of violation of school rules, it may come to the attention of the administrator that the investigated activity may also be a violation of criminal law. In proceeding with the investigation, the principal/designee can attempt to ascertain whether there is sufficient justification to believe that a criminal offense was committed that warrants contacting law enforcement officials.
b. Where a suspected violation of criminal law has occurred on the school grounds, involving the operation of the school or during a school-sponsored activity, law enforcement officials may be notified and their presence requested for the questioning of suspected students. Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, questioning of the student shall not begin or continue until the law enforcement officers arrive. Reasonable attempts shall be made to contact a student’s parents, guardian or representative who, unless an emergency exists, shall be given the opportunity to confer with the student and to be present with the student during such questioning. The administrator shall document the contact or attempted contact with the student’s parents, guardian or representative. The law enforcement officers may wish to advise the student of his/her legal rights.
II. Taking a Student into Custody
A. Students may not be released to law enforcement authorities voluntarily by school officials unless the student has been placed under arrest or unless the parent, guardian or representative and the student agrees to the release Administrators shall make reasonable objections to law enforcement authorities who attempt to remove students from school without placing them under arrest or without the acquiescence of the parent, guardian or representative and the student. When students are removed from school for any reason by law enforcement authorities, reasonable efforts will be made to contact the student’s parents, guardian or representative immediately. Such effort shall be documented. The superintendent’s office shall be notified immediately of any removal of a student from school by law enforcement officers under any circumstances.
B. Where it is necessary to take a student into custody on school premises, and the time permits, the law enforcement officer shall be requested to contact the school principal/designee and relate the circumstances necessitating such action. When possible, the principal/designee shall have the student summoned to the principal’s office where the student may be taken into custody.
C. When an emergency exists, the school principal/designee may summon law enforcement officials to the school to take a student into custody.
D. When a student has been taken into custody or arrested on school premises without prior notification to the principal/designee, the school staff present shall encourage the law enforcement officers to notify the principal/designee of the circumstances as quickly as possible. In the event that the officers decline to notify the principal/designee, the school staff members present shall immediately notify the principal/designee.
E. If possible, parents, guardian or representative of the student shall be notified by the principal or other school administrator before the student is taken into custody by law enforcement officers or as quickly thereafter as can be accomplished. The administrator shall document such notification or attempted notification.
III. Disturbance of School Environment
A. Law enforcement officers may be requested to assist in controlling disturbances of the school environment which the principal or other school administrator has found to be unmanageable by school personnel or has the potential of causing harm to students and other persons or to property. Such potential of possible harm includes members of the general public who have exhibited inappropriate or illegal conduct on school premises or at a school event held on school property and who have been requested to leave by an administrator, but have refused or failed to do so.
IV. Disseminating and Reviewing Policies
A. This policy shall regularly be disseminated to staff members. School staff members shall be apprised of the contents of these provisions as they are updated, and at least annually.
B. School administrators are encouraged to meet at least annually with local law enforcement officials to discuss the District’s policy and rules regarding law enforcement contacts with the District. Law enforcement officials will be asked to instruct their staffs as to the terms of the school’s policy and rules.