-- 2600 -- OCAG Safety and Security

A.  Releasing a Student from School

The organization is concerned about the safety of our students. Students will only be released to people who are their parents or legal guardians, unless we have received written permission to release the student to another adult. In the case of divorce or separation of the parents, both parents shall have full rights until legal notification is provided to the school limiting the rights of either parent.

B.  Relations with Law Enforcement Authorities

It is the organization’s policy to cooperate fully with law enforcement agencies in promoting the welfare of students, staff and the community.

Child Abuse, Molestation, Neglect
The organization considers the welfare of students to be of paramount concern in its responsibilities. Therefore, all organization employees and volunteers are directed to take whatever action may be necessary as required by Chapter 39, and 827 F.S. and all statutes and laws of the state of Florida as regards to all instances of suspected child abuse, molestation and child neglect.

Any employee of the organization or volunteer who has reasonable cause to suspect child abuse shall immediately make an oral report to the Department of Children and Families Abuse and Neglect Hotline. A person who is required to report known or suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect and who knowingly and willfully fails to do so, or who knowingly and willfully prevents another person from doing so, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Further, a person who does make a report of suspected abuse in good faith has immunity from civil and criminal liability pursuant to § 39.203, F.S. The person making the call (if other than the school operations manager) shall notify the building school operations manager immediately. Any person who reports should keep a record of the date and time they made the report, whom they spoke to and the general information they provided to the Abuse Hotline. The school operations manager should maintain records of the report but these should not be placed in a student cumulative folder.

The report shall be made under the following circumstances: When there is reasonable cause to suspect that child abuse or maltreatment has been inflicted through willful or negligent acts which result in neglect, malnutrition, sexual abuse, physical injury, or mental injury. Neglect is a failure to provide sustenance, clothing, shelter or medical condition. Abuse or maltreatment may also include aiding, abetting, counseling, hiring or procuring a child to perform or participate in any photographic motion picture, exhibition show, representation or other presentation which, in whole or in part, depicts sexual conduct, sexual excitement or masochistic abuse involving a child as defined by law.

Interviews, Interrogations and Removal from School by Law Enforcement
Interview or Interrogation - The school has legal jurisdiction over students during the school day and hours of approved extracurricular activities. The school administration is responsible for making an effort to protect each student's rights with respect to interrogations by law enforcement officials. When law enforcement officials find it necessary to question students during the school day or periods of extracurricular activities, the school operations manager or designee will be present and the interview will be conducted in private.

The school operations manager will verify and record the identity of the officer or other authority and request an explanation of the need to question or interview the student at school. The Superintendent/CEO ordinarily will make reasonable efforts to notify the student's parents/guardians.

Removal of Student from School - Before a student at school is arrested or taken into custody by law enforcement or other legally authorized person, the school operations manager will verify the official's authority to take custody of the student. The school operations manager will attempt to notify the student's parent/guardian that the student is being removed from school.

Reporting Violent Behavior
The organization requires school administrators to report acts of school violence to teachers and other employees who are directly responsible for the student's education or who interact with the student in the performance of the employee's duties. School administrators will also disclose to appropriate staff members portions of any student's individualized education program that is related to past or potentially future violent behavior. Violent behavior and the phrase acts of school violence are defined as the use of physical force by a student with the intent to do serious physical injury to another person while on school property, including a school bus, or while involved in school activities.

In addition, the school operations manager will report to law enforcement officials, as soon as is reasonably practicable, the commission of any of the acts or related juvenile offenses which are committed on school property, including school buses, or while involved in school activities.

C.  Searches by School Personnel

In accordance with the state and federal law, should a school staff member have reasonable suspicion that a crime or violation of school rules has occurred; the school staff member has the authority to conduct an appropriate search.

Reasonable suspicion is defined to mean that the person initiating the search has a well-founded suspicion -- based on objective facts that can be articulated -- of either criminal activity or a violation of school rules. Reasonable suspicion is more than a mere hunch or supposition.

If reasonable suspicion exists, and if the school staff can justify the search at its inception, a reasonable search can be conducted to prove or disapprove the stated suspicion prior to starting the search.

Student lockers and desks may be searched by school administrators or staff who have a reasonable suspicion that the lockers or desks contain drugs, alcohol, material that violate school rules, stolen properties, weapons, items posing a danger to the health or safety of students and school employees, or evidence of a violation of school policy. In addition, the board authorizes the use of trained dogs to sniff lockers or other school property to assist in the detection of the presence of drugs, explosives, and other contraband. The board does not need reasonable suspicion to utilize drug sniffing dogs.

Students or student property may be searched based on reasonable suspicion of a violation of school rules, policy or state law. The privacy and dignity of students shall be respected. Searches shall be carried out in the presence of adult witnesses, preferably both the individual conducting the search and the witness will be of the same gender as the student. Students may be asked to empty pockets, remove jackets, coats, shoes and other articles of exterior clothing for examination if reasonable under the circumstances. No employee shall perform a strip search of any student.

Law enforcement officials shall be contacted if the search produces a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, weapons, stolen goods or evidence of a crime, in any case involving a violation of law when a student refuses to allow a search, or where the search cannot safely be conducted. Parents may also be contacted.

Adopted: 02/06/2024