Ascension Parish School Board reviews safety policies ahead of next school year
ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Many schools have taken steps in recent years to strengthen and tighten school safety. This involves the safety of students, teachers, staff, and employees.
Recently in Ascension Parish, the school board adopted a clearer policy when it comes to property searches of a student. Students who refuse to allow their personal property to be searched on campus could set themselves up for potential disciplinary infractions.
“This has been in the country for years,” said Jeff Diez, attorney for the Ascension Parish School Board. “We are just putting it in our handbook in written form.”
“If a student refuses to be searched and or denies the search of their property after school officials request the search, the student’s refusal shall be deemed an admission that the search would have revealed in the discovery of the item,” the policy reads in part.
“They can presume the item they wish to search for is contained,” explained Diez.
He said this change in policy is simply for the safety of school employees and students. He added this will hopefully minimize and avoid confrontations.
“We are trying to lower the temperature, reduce combativeness, keep the peace,” noted Diez.
However, these searches are not random.
“That is based on a Supreme Court case. It requires that we have to have reasonable suspicion that the item violates the school rule,” said Diez.
And nothing is off the table. The searches can include backpacks, purses, shoes, lockers, and even vehicles.
“Anywhere they can hide evidence,” added Diez.
When it comes to disciplinary actions and penalties, each case is based on what the school is searching for.
“State law mandates discipline rules for drugs, knives, and guns, but if you’re searching for cigarettes or stolen money, rules are different,” continued Diez.
And this wasn’t the only safety measure up for discussion. The school system has banned hoodies and other hooded clothing for all high schoolers starting next school year.
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