Student Searches

  • The St. Mary Parish School Board is the exclusive owner of all public school buildings and all desks or lockers within the building assigned to any student and any other area of any public school building or grounds set aside specifically for the personal use of the students.

    Therefore, the St. Mary Parish School Board authorizes any teacher with permission of the principal, administrator, or others designated by the Superintendent or designee, to search any public school building, desk, locker, area, or grounds for evidence that the law, a school rule, or school board policy has been violated.

    The acceptance and use of locker facilities or the parking of privately owned vehicles on school campuses by students constitutes implied consent by the student to the search of such locker facilities or vehicles by authorized school personnel, if there exists an articulable reasonable suspicion that a law, a school rule, or a school board policy has been violated.  The search of a motor vehicle needs a more serious reason than that required of ordinary school facility searches.

    The St. Mary Parish School Board authorizes any teacher with permission of the principal, administrator, or others designated by the Superintendent or designee, to search the person of a student or his or her personal effects when, based on the attendant circumstances at the time of the search, there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the search will reveal evidence that the student has violated the law, a school rule, or a school board policy.  (For example, weapons, illegal drugs, alcoholic beverages, nitrate-based inhalants, stolen goods, etc.).  Such a search shall be conducted in a manner that is reasonably related to the purpose of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the age or sex of the student and the nature of the suspected offense.

    When requested by school officials, the St. Mary Parish School Board authorizes any teacher with permission of the principal, administrators, and/or law enforcement agencies to conduct general or random searches by drug detection devices, hand held or stationary metal detectors, of any student or non-student, of any bag, parcel, purse, vehicle, book sack, container, etc., that may be brought onto school board property, a school bus, and/or to any school-sponsored activity when there is reasonable suspicion that such person has any weapons, illegal drugs, alcoholic beverages, nitrate-based inhalants, stolen goods, or other materials or objects the possession of which is a violation of the law, a school rule, or a school board policy.  Each year the building principal shall notify students, non-students, patrons, etc., of the possible use of detection devices.  Their attendance at gymnasiums, buildings, stadiums, grounds, school, or other school board property, to attend athletic events or other activities scheduled, constitutes acceptance of this policy.

    Upon the seizure of any firearm, bomb, knife, or other instrument which can be used as a weapon and the careless use of which might inflict harm or injury or any controlled dangerous substance as defined in R.S. 40:961(7), the principal or his or her designated administrator shall report the confiscation of such instruments or material to the appropriate law enforcement officials and said confiscated item(s) shall be retained and secured by the school principal in the evidence bag to prevent the destruction, alteration or disappearance of said items.  The confiscated item(s) shall immediately be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement authority and a receipt for the items shall be obtained from the law enforcement authorities.

    Even when the law enforcement authorities notify the principal that the instruments and materials confiscated need not be retained, said item(s) shall still be retained in the evidence bag and turned over to the law enforcement authorities to dispose of as they see fit.

    All items seized maybe used in school disciplinary actions if deemed appropriate by the principal.  It should be noted that a student under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, shall be deemed in possession of the respective contraband, and hence subject to the appropriate school/legal penalties.  A written report of all searches and seizures shall be prepared and filed by the principal.


    The Drug Detection Team shall represent a joint combined effort between law enforcement agencies in St. Mary Parish, private agencies, and the St. Mary Parish School Board.  The purpose of the Drug Detection Team shall be to provide for the use of trained drug detection dogs in assisting School Board administrative personnel in locating drugs on campuses.  The Detection Team shall consist of:

    1. The Superintendent or designee who shall be in charge of the team.
    2. A commissioned law enforcement officer with a trained drug detection dog.
    3. The principal of the school where the search is being conducted, or designee.
    4. Such other school personnel as may be designated by the school principal.

    The representative from the School Board Central Office, who shall be the director of the team, shall be responsible for all aspects of the search by the Drug Detection Team.  The commissioned law enforcement officer, who is serving as the handler for the drug detection dog, shall perform his or her duties under general supervision of the director of the team.  The school principal or designee shall perform the actual search for the suspected illegal drugs or other items when the presence of such, has been detected by the drug detection dog. To ensure the effectiveness of the program while safeguarding the rights of all concerned, the following components of the Drug Detection Program shall be adhered to in the detection and removal of items prohibited by law or Board policy:

    • Any student arrested for intentional distribution of, or possession with intent to distribute any illegal narcotic, drug, or other controlled substance on school property shall be referred by the superintendent or his designee for testing or screening by a qualified medical professional for evidence of abuse of alcohol, illegal narcotics, drugs, or other controlled dangerous substances.
    • If evidence of abuse is found, the student shall be referred to an alcohol and drug abuse treatment professional chosen by the student's parent or guardian.  If the student is found by the professional, to be in need, of treatment, as certified in writing by the medical professional, such documentation may be used to initiate reopening the student's case.  The St. Mary Parish School Board will take into consideration the student's agreement to receive treatment as a positive factor in the final decision relative to any final disciplinary action.
    • Any student who has been expelled from any public or non-public school within or outside the State of Louisiana for possession on school property or on a school bus of a firearm, knife, or other dangerous weapon or instrument  customarily used or intended for probable use as a dangerous weapon, or for possession with intent to distribute, or distributing, selling, giving, or lending while on school property or on a school bus any controlled dangerous substance governed by the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law will not be admitted to a public school in St. Mary Parish until the student has enrolled and participated in an appropriate rehabilitation or counseling program related to the reason or reasons for the student's expulsion.

    The rehabilitation or counseling required by this policy shall be provided by existing or new programs that have been approved by the juvenile or family courts having jurisdiction, if applicable, or by the school system and shall be at no additional cost to the School Board.


    Updated 07/14/2021
    Kenneth Holmes