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AP 332

Search and Seizure


The purpose of this procedure is to protect students in the Abbotsford School District from harm and maintain the safety of our schools. This procedure provides guidelines for searches or inspections of students, their lockers and their possessions, and for seizing illegal substances or dangerous objects. Procedures for the use of drug detection dogs is also outlined.


1. General Procedures

1.2 Where the principal, vice-principal or designate has reasonable grounds to believe a school rule has been or is being violated and that a search will produce evidence of that violation and the principal, vice-principal or designate intends to conduct a search of a student or their possessions.

1.3 The following are examples of what may constitute reasonable grounds in this context:
• information believed to be credible received from a student
• a teacher’s or administrator's observation
• any combination of sources of information (including drug detection dogs in respect to lockers used by students) that the principal or vice-principal considers to be credible.

1.4 The following guidelines will be observed:
• the reason and purpose of the search will be clearly stated to the student(s);
• the search will be conducted in a private area in a respectful manner which recognizes the right to be treated fairly. The use of threats is not permitted;
• searches will be conducted in the presence of a second adult;
• where reasonably possible a search will be conducted by a person of the same gender as the student;
• school officials should not physically search students. Rather, students should be requested to provide any concealed articles on their person, or in their personal property; and
• a reasonable attempt will be made to contact the parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s) prior to the search.

2. Procedures for Use of Drug Detection Dogs

2.1 Drug detection dogs may be used to inspect lockers used by students, for the maintenance of a safe school environment.

2.2 Drug detection dogs may only be used to inspect other areas of the school premises, including parking lots and unattended property found on school premises, where there is a reasonable suspicion that illegal substances or dangerous objects are present. Drug detection dogs may not be used on a random basis or in the absence of such reasonable grounds.

2.3 Inspections by drug detection dogs will be conducted by trained personnel and will be conducted in such a way as to minimize interaction with students. Inspections will be conducted during class times or outside school hours. The area in which the dog will be present will be blocked off by a staff member, classroom doors will be closed, and only personnel associated with the inspection will be allowed in the area while the dog or dogs are present.

2.4 Lockers or property indicated by the drug dog will be noted and opened at a later time by the principal or vice-principal. To protect student confidentiality, videotape recordings will be made during the sweep and stored, viewed, and handled in the same way as surveillance videotapes (Reference AP 520 – Video Surveillance in Schools.)

3. Miscellaneous

3.1 Illegal substances found during a search must be turned over to the police.

3.2 Generally, dangerous objects seized should be turned over to the police. However, administrators may use discretion when it is clear that an object was not brought to the school for harmful purposes (for example, a pocket knife). In these cases, the item should be confiscated and the parent notified that the object may be picked up from the school.


AP 332-1 Guidelines for Locker Sweeps


AP 320 – Possession of Weapons or Explosives

AP 331 – Drugs and Controlled Substance Abuse

AP 333 – Student Suspensions

(Last Revised: May 2013)