1411 - Relations with Law Enforcement Agencies

Policy 1411

Community Relations

Relations with Law Enforcement Agencies

The Board recognizes that district-wide cooperation with law enforcement agencies is essential for the protection of staff and students, for maintaining a safe environment in district schools, for safeguarding district property, and in the development and implementation of school security procedures and crisis management plans. Local law enforcement shall be involved with selected district and school personnel in threat assessment and planning of appropriate interventions and security strategies.

Programs and activities designed to enrich district curriculum and to develop and promote good citizenship and a healthy attitude toward law enforcement agencies and officials will be encouraged by the district. Law enforcement participation in such programs and activities is encouraged.

Law enforcement officials may enter school facilities if a crime has been committed on district property or to investigate matters concerning staff and students upon request initiated by either agency officials or by district administrators.  Law enforcement officials may also enter school facilities as part of continuing efforts to enhance school security. Administrators have the responsibility and the authority to determine when the presence and assistance of law enforcement officers is necessary within their respective jurisdictions.

All Newtown Public Schools are equipped with IP-based video surveillance cameras in interior and exterior locations. This enables local law enforcement (i.e., Newtown Police Department, Connecticut State Police) to access school cameras in real time from remote locations such as the Emergency Communications Center, Emergency Operations Center and police vehicles. The Newtown Public Schools authorizes local law enforcement to access school surveillance cameras in real time during emergency situations. The Newtown Public Schools also authorizes local law enforcement to access school surveillance cameras in real time during authorized training exercises with prior approval from the Superintendent. Recorded video surveillance footage will be turned over to law enforcement when requested in accordance with existing state and federal laws.

The Superintendent will develop administrative regulations to implement this policy, including procedures for handling investigations, administrator requests for assistance and required referrals to law enforcement agencies.  The District administrators shall at all times act in a manner which protects and guarantees the rights of students and parents/guardians and shall cooperate with law enforcement officials as provided in administrative regulations.

Legal Reference:    Connecticut General Statutes
           10-221 Boards of education to prescribe rules.
            53a-185 Loitering in or about school grounds:  Class C Misdemeanor
            54-76j Disposition upon adjudication as youthful offender.
            New Jersey vs. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985)
Policy adopted: May 5, 2015    
NEWTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Newtown, Connecticut
EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2015

Community Relations

Relations With Law Enforcement Agencies

School Police Cooperation

District officials are committed to cooperation with police officials and other law enforcement authorities to maintain a safe and secure school environment.  Police officials have limited authority to interview or search students in schools or at school functions, or to use school facilities in connection with police work. Police, however, shall be involved in threat assessment activities, and in the planning and implementation of school and district emergency plans, security and crisis response activities.

This regulation is intended to balance the needs of school and police officials.  The reduction of ambiguity and confusion in how these officials interact will provide an optimal environment for education while ensuring that the public safety needs of the school and community are adequately met.  Police officials may enter school property or a school function to question or to search a student or to conduct a formal investigation involving students only if they have (1) a search or arrest warrant; or (2) probable cause to believe a crime has been committed on school property or at a school function; or (3) been invited by school officials.

Generally, police should be notified immediately of any crime. Police will make every attempt to minimize distractions or disruption of school routines during the performance of their duties. There may be instances where the transgression is so slight that the school administrator can resolve the issue himself/herself. Examples of crimes that fall into this category are theft of pocket change, minor vandalism, or minor physical altercations in which there is no injury or pain inflicted upon either participant.
Event                               Suggested Action

Vandalism, Breaking,
Entering, etc.                 
Police should be notified immediately. (cf. 5131.5 - Vandalism)

Alcohol, Drugs, etc.      The suspected drug or alcohol should be secured by the building administrator and given directly to the responding police officer. The police officer will sign a receipt and give it to the building administrator. Prescription drugs out of the container should be seized and the prescription confirmed via the subscribing doctor. If the prescription is not valid the drug should be seized and the police notified. (cf. 5131.6 - Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco)

Loitering                         As long as the school grounds are posted, "no trespassing," warnings prior to arrest are not required. Notification of police and requests for arrest are within the discretion of the building administrator.

Confrontations               Confrontations where students become involved in loud tumultuous behavior but do not assault another is a violation of the law and police can arrest for this behavior. The decision to call police and request an arrest is within the discretion of the building administrator.

Assaults                          Physical altercations in which students are injured or pain has been inflicted upon another should be reported to the police as soon as practicable.  The district/school crisis management plan may be activated.

Weapons                         Confiscated weapons that are illegal in themselves should be turned over to the police department immediately by the school official who seized same. This category of weapons includes knives with over a four inch blade, dirk knives, switch blade knives, martial arts weapons and guns. Ammunition should also be immediately turned over to the police. Any evidence or information relative to firearms in the school should be immediately relayed to the police. Weapons that are not illegal in themselves but are a violation of school policy. Police notification in these instances are within the discretion of the school administrator. (cf. 5131.7 - Weapons and Dangerous Instruments)

Bomb Threat                   Employees of the Newtown Public Schools respond to bomb threats per the “Bomb Threat” guidelines incorporated in the District’s Emergency Operation Plan. The affected school Administrator will promptly notify the Newtown Police Department via 911 upon receipt of the bomb threat and request their response to the school. The Administrator will also promptly notify the Superintendent. The Superintendent, Police and Administrator will conduct a threat assessment and determine the appropriate course of action (i.e., vigilance, administrative search, law enforcement canine search/evacuation). The affected school’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) and/or custodial staff will conduct the administrative search under the direction of the Administrator.

Suspicious Device
Or Package 
                     Employees of the Newtown Public Schools respond to the discovery of suspicious devices and packages per the “Suspicious Package/Device” guideline incorporated in the District’s Emergency Operations Plan. The affected school Administrator will notify the Newtown Police Department via 911 (landline) immediately upon discovery of a suspicious device or package and request their response to the Incident Command Post (ICP). The Administrator will also notify the Superintendent via landline telephone. The Administrator will initiate an evacuation of all students and staff to a location at least 300 feet from the suspicious device or package and will transfer command of the incident to law enforcement upon their arrival of the ICP.

Fingerprinting of District 
Employees and School
                         The Newtown Public Schools and the Newtown Police Department will work collaboratively to ensure that District employees and school volunteers are fingerprinted in accordance with existing state law and Board of Education policies.

Civil Disobedience            When known about in advance, school and police should plan beforehand. Picketing is legal whereas blocking traffic, etc., is illegal.  Police officials may be requested to assist in controlling disturbances at school and if necessary to take students or other persons into custody.

Motor Vehicles,
Parking Lots  
                     Police routinely patrol parking lots and may arrest or summon individuals in said lots. Students involved in motor vehicle accidents in parking lots that result in personal injury or over $400.00 in damages are required to report same. (cf. 5131.3 - Student Driving/Parking)

Police Interviews                Generally will not take place on school grounds.  However, if the police do indicate that an interview on school grounds is necessary, school authorities shall cooperate.

Police Interviews
of Juveniles 
                       When the interview involves a juvenile, the police will usually arrange to have a parent present.  The exceptions to this rule are (a) if the student is being interviewed as a victim and/or (b) if there is an overriding immediate public safety concern.  If a student under the age of 16 is being interviewed by the police and the parent/guardian cannot be present, the student may at his/her request, have a member of the school staff present.

                                             Students who are questioned by police officials on school property or at a school function will be afforded the same rights they have outside the schools.  This means they (1) must be informed of their legal rights; (2) may remain silent if they so desire; and (3) may request the presence of an attorney.

Child Abuse                         School officials will notify the Department of Children and Families and the police of suspected child abuse cases. If staff members have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused by a school employee, they must report the abuse to the Superintendent who will notify the DCF and police. (cf. 5141.4 - Reporting of Child Abuse/Neglect)

Extracurricular Activities   Police assigned on site have communications if additional police resources are needed. Police officials assigned to extracurricular activities shall report to the school administrator to discuss appropriate monitoring procedures.

Arrest Warrants                   There are times in which the police may decide to pick up a student due to the Warrant being issued for his/her arrest. Once notified of an outstanding Arrest Warrant for a student, the student should be escorted from class by school personnel and remain in a secured office until the police arrive. The arrested student will be removed from the school in a way that minimizes embarrassment to the student and any disruption of the school routine.

                                              When a student is removed from school by law enforcement officers for any reason, school officials will make every reasonable effort to notify the student’s parent/guardian or legal custodian. The school officials will document such efforts in writing.

Confidential Police
                               Police officials are prohibited by state and federal law from disclosing confidential juvenile arrest information or using the police computer network to obtain information relative to registration numbers, home addresses, etc.

Search of Students             School officials may search students, bookbags, lockers, desks, etc., using the established "reasonable suspicion" standard. In cases where a student is suspected of carrying a dangerous weapon and there is a safety issue inherent in the search process itself, the police should conduct the search after the student is secured in an office. (cf. 5145.12 - Search and Seizure)

Each year the administration will meet with local law enforcement officials to discuss:
  1. Whom the school/law enforcement official should call for suspected violations of the law occurring on district property or other common needs;
  2. How school representatives should handle evidence of a suspected crime/contraband, etc.;
  3. Board policy and procedures related to law enforcement officials’ request for access to a questioning of students on district property and district notification requirements;
  4. Applicable provisions of district emergency plans and security procedures;
  5. Special event needs.

Notification of a Student's Arrest

Pursuant to the requirements of C.G.S. 10-233h, as amended by Public Act 94-221, Public Act 95-304 and Public Act 97-149, whenever the Superintendent receives oral, followed by written notification from the local police department or state police that a student was arrested for a Class A misdemeanor, a felony, or for selling, carrying, or brandishing a facsimile firearm, he/she shall maintain the written report in a secure location and the information in the report shall be maintained as confidential in accordance with Section 46b-124. The Superintendent may disclose such information, when reported during the school year, only to the Principal of the school in which the student is enrolled or the supervisory agent of any other school in which the student is enrolled. 

The Principal or supervisory agent may disclose such information only to special service staff or a consultant, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker, for the purposes of assessing the risk of danger posed by the person to other students, school employees or property and effectuating an appropriate modification of such person's educational plan or placement for disciplinary purposes. Such information with respect to a child under sixteen years of age shall be confidential in accordance with 46b-124 and shall only be disclosed as provided in this section and shall not be further disclosed.

Relations With Law Enforcement Agencies

Legal Reference:    Connecticut General Statutes
            10-221 Boards of education to prescribe rules. 
            10-233a through 10-233s re student suspension, expulsion.
            10-233g(b) Boards to report school violence.
            10-233h Arrested students. Reports by police to the superintendent, disclosure, confidentiality.
            17a-101 Protection of children from abuse. 
            17a-102 Report of danger of abuse. 
            46b-124 Confidentiality of records of juvenile matters. Exception
            53-206c Sale, carrying and brandishing of facsimile firearms prohibited. Class B misdemeanor.
            53a-185 Loitering in or about school grounds: Class C Misdemeanor.
            Reports of principals to police authority.
            New Jersey v T.L.O., 53 U.S.L.W. 4083 (1988), 469 U.S. 325; 105 S.CT 733.
            54-76j Disposition upon adjudication as youthful offender.

Regulation approved: May 5, 2015    
NEWTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Newtown, Connecticut
EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2015
Inspiring Each Student to Excel

3 Primrose St., Newtown, CT 06470
Phone: 203-426-7600