Carson City school board considers changes to search, seizure policy
The Carson City School Board has proposed changes to its search and seizure policy and regulation as part of routine review, according to administrators. The discussion item at the July 9 board meeting was an opportunity to strengthen language and give guidance in areas where trustees felt the policy was vague in enforcing searches or providing consent and to determine what to do about a student if they’re found in possession of a dangerous item or under the influence of a controlled substance.
Ann Cyr, risk manager for the Carson City School District, introduced policy 526, which calls for the search of students and their property, student use areas, student lockers and automobiles should incidents arise that prompt them. As originally worded, these searches could result in the seizure of “illegal, unauthorized drugs, alcohol, devices or contraband.”
The policy was brought up only for review and not due to any recent incident, she said.
Trustee Mike Walker asked whether the language should be left that vague since an “unauthorized drug” could refer to something as benign as cough syrup.
Walker also was concerned about providing proper training to chaperones or anyone designated as school officials who weren’t already familiar with the proper process of searching if needed.
“Not every teacher is engaged with those kinds of (extracurricular) activities,” he said, such as field trips or sporting events.
The discussion also addressed the use of random alcohol testing and using breathalyzers. Trustee Richard Varner said the equipment has to be recalibrated, and not everyone is trained to do that, but associate superintendent Tasha Fuson said school resource officers usually assist with using the breathalyzers to determine if students are under the influence of unprescribed drugs. If so, she said, they then ask parents to pick up their child.
The policy and regulations apply to all students on all district property, including student use areas, lockers and district vehicles.
The item was introduced at the July 9 meeting and is expected to return to the board at its July 23 meeting.