TITLE 17. EDUCATION
CHAPTER 2. TEACHERS AND EMPLOYEES
PART I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
17:416.3 Search of students' persons, desks, lockers, other areas; defense of suits against school personnel; indemnification; reporting of implements seized
A. (1) The parish and city school systems of the state are the exclusive owners of all public school buildings and all desks and lockers within the building assigned to any student and any other area of any public school building or grounds set aside specifically for the personal use of the students. Any teacher, principal, school security guard, or administrator in any parish or city school system of the state may search any building, desk, locker, area, or grounds for evidence that the law, a school rule, or parish or city school board policy has been violated.
(2)(a) The teacher, principal, school security guard, or administrator may search the person of a student or his personal effects when, based on the attendant circumstances at the time of the search, there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the search will reveal evidence that the student has violated the law, a school rule, or a school board policy. Such a search shall be conducted in a manner that is reasonably related to the purpose of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the age or sex of the student and the nature of the suspected offense.
(b) Random searches with a metal detector of students or their personal effects may be conducted at any time, provided they are conducted without deliberate touching of the student.
B. (1) If any teacher, principal, school security guard, or administrator in the public school system is sued for damages by any student, the parent of any student, or other person qualified to bring suit on behalf of the student, based upon a search of that student's person, desk, locker, or any other area of a school building or grounds set aside specifically for that student's personal use, when the teacher, principal, school security guard, or administrator reasonably believed that the student had weapons, illegal drugs, alcohol, stolen goods, or other materials or objects the possession of which is a violation of the parish or city school board policy on his person, or had reasonable belief that such desk, locker, or other area contained such items, or based upon a search using a metal detector, it shall be the responsibility of the school board employing such teacher, principal, school security guard, or administrator to provide the defendant with legal defense, including reasonable attorney's fees, investigatory costs, and other related expenses.
(2) If any such teacher, principal, school security guard, or administrator is cast in judgment for damages in the suit, it shall be the obligation of the school board employing the defendant to indemnify him fully against such judgment, including all principal, interest, and costs.
(3) Nothing in this Section shall require a school board to indemnify a teacher, principal, school security guard, or administrator against a judgment wherein there is a specific finding that the action of the teacher, principal, school security guard, or administrator was maliciously, wilfully, and deliberately intended to harass, embarrass, or intimidate the student.
C. (1)(a) On or before January 1, 1995, each parish and city school board shall adopt a policy that is consistent with Subsection A of this Section to provide for reasonable search and seizure by public school teachers, principals, and other school administrators of students' persons, desks, lockers, or other school areas for evidence that the law, a school rule, or a parish or city school board policy has been violated.
(b) Such policy shall include at a minimum:
(i) Specification of standards regarding procedures for searching students to prevent excessive intrusion.
(ii) Specification of standards for retaining and securing confiscated implements and materials.
(iii) Directions regarding the disposal of implements and materials reported to law enforcement authorities when such authorities notify the principal that the implements and materials need not be retained.
(iv) Specification of disciplinary action when a principal or designated administrator violates any provision of this Section.
(2)(a) Nothing in this Section shall require defense and/or indemnification by a school board, a principal, or other school administrator for suits regarding search and seizure unless such acts are in accordance with the policy adopted by the school board that employs him, if the policy is declared to be reasonable by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) No teacher, principal, school security guard, or administrator shall be held personally liable for any action authorized by this Section and performed in accordance with school board policies adopted pursuant to this Section.
D. (1) Upon the seizure by any public school teacher, principal, school security guard, or administrator of any firearm, bomb, knife, or other implement which can be used as a weapon and the careless use of which might inflict harm or injury or any controlled dangerous substance as defined in R.S. 40:961(7), the principal or his designated administrator shall report the confiscation of such implement or material to the appropriate law enforcement officials. The principal or his designated administrator may report the confiscation of any other implement or material.
(2) Any implement or material required by Paragraph (1) of this Subsection to be reported to law enforcement officials shall be retained and secured by the school principal in such a manner as to prevent the destruction, alteration, or disappearance of it until such time as the law enforcement authority either takes custody of the implement or material or provides notice to the school principal that it need no longer be retained. In the case that it need not be retained, the school principal shall comply with his school board's policy regarding disposal of the item.
(3) The failure of any principal or designated administrator to report the confiscation of such implement or material or the failure to retain and secure such implement or material shall be reported by the law enforcement authority to the employing school board which shall take disciplinary action pursuant to its policy.
E. The provisions of this Section shall apply to the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as it relates to state schools operated by the board in the same way it applies to city and parish school boards.
Added by Acts 1977, No. 658, Sec. 1. Amended by Acts 1981, No. 872, Sec. 1; Acts 1982, No. 675, Sec. 1, eff. July 22, 1982; Acts 1983, No. 378, Sec. 1; Acts 1991, No. 328, Sec. 1, eff. July 6, 1991; Acts 1992, No. 161, Sec. 1; Acts 1994, 3rd Ex.Sess. No. 24, Sec. 1, eff. July 6, 1994.