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Student Searches

This section of the APS Student Code of Conduct outlines Student Search processes.

This handbook is considered notice of search policy.

To ensure the safety of the school population, school personnel may conduct searches of students. The district acknowledges both state and federal constitutional rights which are applicable to personal searches of students, searches of their possessions (e.g., pocket contents, backpacks, handbags, etc.) and vehicle searches. School administrators need only have individualized reasonable suspicion that a particular search will reveal evidence that a crime or breach of the disciplinary code is being committed by the student or that a safety or security issue may exist. Individualized reasonable suspicion is established when the observation of specific and describable behavior or information from a credible informant leads one to reasonably believe that a particular student is engaging in or has engaged in prohibited conduct. The reasonableness of the search shall depend upon:

  1. The value and reliability of information used as justification for the search;
  2. The prevalence and seriousness of the problem to which the search is directed;
  3. The urgency requires an immediate search.

Even if individualized reasonable suspicion exists, the scope of the search shall be such that the measures used are reasonably related to the purpose of the search and not excessively intrusive.

Law enforcement officers not specifically assigned to the school shall be required to have probable cause to perform a search of a student.

Types of Searches

Vehicle Searches

Search of a student's vehicle, while parked on school property, may be conducted by any school administrator or designee, if there is reasonable suspicion that a crime or breach of the disciplinary code is being committed by the student. Search of a student’s vehicle while parked on school property may be conducted only if a school employee, Albuquerque Public Schools police officer, school security officer or campus security aide has reasonable suspicion that a crime or breach of the disciplinary code is being committed by the student.

Physical Searches

Search of a student's person or property may be conducted only where there is individualized reasonable suspicion that the student being searched has committed a crime or a breach of the disciplinary code. Searches may be conducted by a school administrator or designee.

  • Minimally Intrusive Searches - Searches such as emptying of pockets, searches of student backpacks and purses, removal of hats, socks and shoes may be conducted by any school administrator or designee.
  • More Intrusive Searches - Searches such as pat downs and frisks may only be conducted by an authorized person of the same sex as the student being searched. Administrators may conduct more intrusive searches when they have reason to believe that a student may be in possession of a firearm, a weapon, or a dangerous drug.

A student search would be documented in the body of the Student Information System referral. Student desks, school lockers, storage spaces and school computers are not the private property of a student but the property of the school district and may be opened and subject to inspection without student consent.