Section: School-Community Relations
Title: Law Enforcement in Student Matters
Adopted: May 18, 2021
LAW ENFORCEMENT INVOLVEMENT
IN STUDENT MATTERS
The Portland Board of Public Education (“Board”) affirms our intention to create a climate of respect, inclusion, and respect for all. In service of developing safe and equitable school communities, Portland Public Schools (“District”) recognizes that a cooperative relationship with law enforcement authorities is desirable for the protection of students and staff, maintaining a safe school environment, and safeguarding school property. The District also recognizes that students who are referred to police officers for school discipline issues may experience long-term, negative consequences such as a higher likelihood of not graduating and of having future interactions with the criminal justice system.
School administrators and staff shall have the primary responsibility for ensuring consistent enforcement of school rules and policies and for disciplining students. Law enforcement officers shall not be involved in student discipline, which is the sole responsibility of District staff.
- Requests for Law Enforcement Assistance
1. School site administrators and staff are authorized to call for law enforcement assistance when there is a real and imminent physical threat to students, staff, or the public.
- District staff, in consultation with the Superintendent/designee, may request assistance from law enforcement when student conduct constitutes a serious criminal offense, including but not necessarily limited to:
- Bomb threats;
- Weapons violations;
- Selling drugs;
- Serious assaults and threats of physical violence;
- Arson or major vandalism;
- Rape and other serious sexual misconduct; or
- Theft of a significant amount of money and/or property.
- District staff should not request the involvement of law enforcement in routine or minor student behavioral issues, and/or violations of Board policies or school rules that can be safely and appropriately handled by the District’s behavioral intervention and disciplinary procedures and internal threat assessment protocols, including but not limited to:
- Insubordination or profanity;
- Dress code violations;
- Violations of school policy on personal electronic devices;
- Inappropriate public display of affection;
- Minor disruptions or damage to the school;
- Failure to cooperate with school staff;
- Loitering or trespass;
- Verbal altercations;
- Fighting without a weapon;
- Possession of a tool that could be taken to be, but is not intended as a weapon unless that item is being brandished as a weapon;
- Perceived drunkenness or intoxication; or
- Possession of alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana solely for personal use.
- This policy is not intended to prevent an individual from contacting law enforcement or filing a police report if they believe a report is warranted, and school officials shall not discourage any such individual from contacting law enforcement or making a report.
- Visits by Law Enforcement Agencies:
- Agents of law enforcement agencies shall provide school officials with written consent from a student’s parent(s)/legal guardian(s) prior to interviewing or questioning a student on school grounds during regular school hours except as provided below. School personnel should take reasonable measures to verify the identity of unknown law enforcement personnel.
- Law enforcement personnel may interview a student on school grounds during regular school hours without prior permission and/or the presence of the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) only when the law enforcement agent obtains permission from an appropriate school official and :
- Furnishes evidence that he/she has reasonable grounds to believe there is a health and/or safety emergency that requires the interview without prior parental notice and consent; or
- Furnishes evidence that a reasonable effort has been made to contact the student’s parent(s)/legal guardian(s) without success, and that law enforcement personnel seek to question the student about continuing or imminent criminal activity; and
- Informs the student of their right to leave the interview and/or not answer questions at the start of the interview. An appropriate school district employee is present at all times during the interview
- Prior to removing a child from school without express permission of the parent(s)/legal guardian(s), law enforcement authorities shall adequately demonstrate their legal authority to take custody of the child (e.g., court order, warrant, or other legal authority). Parent(s)/legal guardian(s) will be notified of the removal as soon as practicable. The Board strongly discourages law enforcement authorities from using the schools as a venue to arrest and/or interrogate students for activities not related to or affecting the schools.
The Board authorizes the Superintendent and administration to work with local law enforcement authorities to develop administrative regulations to guide interactions between the schools and law enforcement. Such regulations should safeguard the rights of students and parents, be consistent with Board policies, and minimize disruptions to the instructional program. These administrative regulations are subject to the approval of the Board.
The Board also encourages the Superintendent/administration to include law enforcement authorities in the development and/or implementation of instructional programs/activities related to student safety.