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IFG Interrogation and Searches

Adopted: January 1, 1991
Amended: May 9, 2006

Policy

The Board expects school officials to cooperate with police and other appropriate civilian authorities in the execution of their duties.

School authorities have a responsibility to cooperate with the police and other civilian authorities. They also have a responsibility to students to function “in loco parentis” (in the place of parents) during school hours.

Guidelines

1.   The Board strongly encourages investigating officers and officials to conduct their investigation of students away from the school, unless they deem such interviews essential to proper investigation.

2.   Interviews and searches will be conducted in a manner that ensures students' individual rights are protected.

3.   Legal guardians of the student, law enforcement officers, and under some circumstances, Child Welfare authorities may interview students at school.

Procedures

Interrogations: Law Enforcement Officers

1.   When authorized persons find it necessary to visit a school to interview a student, they shall report to the principal, provide appropriate identification of themselves and make known the purpose of their visit.

2.   When law enforcement authorities in the course of their duties find it necessary to interview a student on the school premises, the following will occur:

a.   Prior to the interview taking place, attempts should be made to contact the parents/guardian, except in cases where the investigation allegedly has to do with child abuse by the parent or guardian. If possible, parents or guardians should be present at the interview.

b.   If the parent/guardian cannot be present, the principal or designate may sit in on the interview at the request of the youth. The principal or designate does not automatically have the right to be present at interviews. Students have the right to select their own advocate and may waive the right to have an adult present.

c.   The principal will bring the student to the office where the interview will take place in the presence of an adult.

d.   The law enforcement officer is responsible for informing the student (ages 12 to 17) that:

i.   The student is under no obligation to give a statement;

ii.  Any statement given by him/her may be used as evidence in proceedings against him/her;

iii. He/she has the right to consult with: counsel or a parent/guardian; or, in the absence of a parent or adult relative, any other appropriate adult (over 18) of his/her choice; and

iv. Any statement made by him/her must be made in the presence of the person consulted unless he/she expressly waives that right in writing.

e.   If the student requests the principal or other staff member to be present during the interview, it is desirable that the individual comply “in loco parentis”. However, the staff member is not obligated. Therefore, if the request is refused, the student may select some other adult to be present.

f.   The principal or designate can request to “sit in” on the interview, as a silent observer. The police officer would then be responsible to inform the student of the request. If the student does not consent, the principal or designate may then determine:

i.   To let the interview go ahead without the principal or designate in attendance; or

ii.  Request that the interview be removed from the school premises.

g.   Before removing a student from the school the police officer should communicate by phone with the parent/guardian and inform them of the course of action taken.

h.   The principal is encouraged to express the Board's position to police officers.

i.   Any unusual circumstances must be reported immediately to the Superintendent.

Interview By Child Welfare Workers

1.   When Child Welfare Workers find it necessary to visit a school to interview a student, they shall report to the principal, provide appropriate identification, make known the nature of the investigation and indicate why the interview must be conducted.

2.   If the matter is urgent and there is a need to conduct the interview in school hours, the principal or designate shall advise the official of the location of the student and escort the official to that location. In the event of arrest/apprehension, the police officer and the student shall leave the school immediately.

3.   Interviews are to be permitted on school premises in cases of suspected child abuse or neglect when the investigation involves suspected physical/sexual abuse.

4.   The principal is to receive assurance from the Child Welfare Worker that the parents or legal guardian will be informed about the investigation if it involves students under 18 years of age.

5.   The responsibility for notifying parents about an investigation rests with the Child Welfare Worker or Police.

6.   The principal should clarify with the Child Welfare Worker or the Police as to when contact with the parents will be made.

7.   The principal, following consultation with the student and the Child Welfare Worker will determine whether or not it is in the best interest of the child to have a staff member sit in on the interview.

8.   Child Welfare authorities have the power to apprehend a child where there is sufficient evidence to suggest the child is in need of protection.

9.   Child Welfare Workers are not authorized to take a child from the school unless they have apprehended them or unless the child is under wardship.

Searches

1.   Student property may be subject to unannounced searches from time to time.

2.   Students and their parents shall be informed at the beginning of each school year or semester, regarding any school policy in effect, and that student property is subject to periodic searches of a general administrative nature for contraband and rule violations.

3.   School officials shall attempt at all times to protect the student's right to privacy.

4.   Searches may be conducted if the principal has reasonable information that the locker contains contraband or rule violations. The grounds for conducting a search shall be recorded in writing by the principal and kept on file. Reasonable grounds usually revolves around the Student's possession of contraband in the past or eyewitness accounts of possession of contraband.

5.   The student shall be present during the search.

6.   In addition to the searcher, at least one other adult witness shall be present when the search takes place.

7.   If the proposed search revolves around a suspicion of criminal activity, the police shall be informed, and they shall conduct the search.

8.   Wherever possible, the parents or guardians of the student shall be informed of the search, and the reasons for it, prior to it being undertaken.

References

Legal Reference:

Alberta School Act: Sections, 45(8), 60
Child Welfare Act 51.3–AR

Family Law Act Section 20& 21

Cross Reference:

IHEB Reporting Child Abuse

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