Washington - Student Searches: Program Requirements

Area: 
Program Requirement
Policy Type: 
regulation; statute
Summary: 

State law does not require districts to adopt search and seizure policies or rules.

Revised Code of Washington 28A.600.240 School locker searches—Notice and reasonable suspicion requirements.

(1) In addition to the provisions in RCW 28A.600.230, the school principal, vice principal, or principal’s designee may search all student lockers at any time without prior notice and without a reasonable suspicion that the search will yield evidence of any particular student’s violation of the law or school rule.
(2) If the school principal, vice principal, or principal’s designee, as a result of the search, develops a reasonable suspicion that a certain container or containers in any student locker contain evidence of a student’s violation of the law or school rule, the principal, vice principal, or principal’s designee may search the container or containers according to the provisions of RCW 28A.600.230(2).


Revised Code of Washington 28A.600.230 School locker searches—Authorization—Limitations.

(1) A school principal, vice principal, or principal’s designee may search a student, the student’s possessions, and the student’s locker, if the principal, vice principal, or principal’s designee has reasonable grounds to suspect that the search will yield evidence of the student’s violation of the law or school rules. A search is mandatory if there are reasonable grounds to suspect a student has illegally possessed a firearm in violation of RCW 9.41.280.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, the scope of the search is proper if the search is conducted as follows:

  • (a) The methods used are reasonably related to the objectives of the search; and
  • (b) Is not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the suspected infraction.

(3) A principal or vice principal or anyone acting under their direction may not subject a student to a strip search or body cavity search as those terms are defined in RCW 10.79.070.


Washington Administrative Code 392400-215 Student rights

(3) All students possess the constitutional right to be secure in their persons, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

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