In a school, a search is defined as a keen examination of a person, his/her belongings or school premises/grounds.

What constitutes a search?

  • Examining personal items or places that are in the open and exposed to public view
  • Physically examining or patting down a student’s body or clothing, including the student’s pockets
  • Opening and inspecting personal possessions such as purses, haversacks/backpacks, bags, books, note/net books, laptop bags and closed containers
  • Handling or feeling any closed, opaque item to determine its contents when they cannot be identified by item’s shape or external physical properties.

Guiding Principles

When to conduct a search?
Before conducting a search reflect on the following:

  • Is there reasonable suspicion?

Reasonable suspicion means that the person initiating the search has a well founded belief based on objective fact that can be articulated, of criminal activity or a violation of school rules.

    • Did you receive a tip from a student, staff member or a reliable member of the school’s community?
    • Is there a serious threat to the safety and security of the school?

If yes to any of these, then proceed to search, adhering to acceptable measures outlined by the Ministry of Education.