New Jersey - Limits on Referrals to Law Enforcement: Prohibitions or Restrictions

Area: 
Prohibitions Or Restrictions
Policy Type: 
Regulation
Summary: 

State law requires districts to establish formal procedures governing referrals to local law enforcement.

New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:16-6.2 Development and implementation of policies and procedures

(b) School district policies and procedures shall include the following components:

  1. Designation by the chief school administrator of liaisons to law enforcement agencies and the description of the liaisons' roles and responsibilities;

  2. Specific procedures for and responsibilities of staff in summoning appropriate law enforcement authorities onto school grounds, for the purpose of conducting law enforcement investigations, searches, seizures, or arrests;

  3. Specific procedures and responsibilities of staff for notifying parents in instances of law enforcement interviews involving their children consistent with the following:

    • i. School officials shall not notify the student's parent(s) in instances of suspected child abuse or neglect;
    • ii. School officials shall notify the student's parent(s) when the student is the target of the law enforcement investigation; and
    • iii. In all other instances, school authorities shall permit law enforcement authorities to determine whether or when a student's parent should be contacted;
  4. Specific procedures for and responsibilities of staff in cooperating with arrests made by law enforcement authorities on school grounds;

  5. Specific procedures for and responsibilities of staff in initiating or conducting searches and seizures of students, their property, and their personal effects.

    • i. All searches and seizures conducted by school staff shall comply with the standards prescribed by the United States Supreme Court in New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985).
    • ii. Questions concerning searches conducted by school officials shall be directed to the appropriate county prosecutor.
    • iii. School officials may request that law enforcement authorities assume responsibility for conducting a search or seizure.
    • iv. No school staff member shall impede a law enforcement officer engaged in a lawful search, seizure, or arrest whether pursuant to a warrant or otherwise.
    • v. School staff shall permit law enforcement authorities, upon their arrival, to assume responsibility for conducting a search or seizure.
    • vi. All inspections of lockers, desks, or other objects or personal property on school grounds involving the use of law enforcement drug-detection canines may be undertaken with only the express permission of the county prosecutor or the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice or his or her designee in the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety.
    • vii. Questions concerning the legality of a contemplated or ongoing search, seizure, or arrest conducted by a law enforcement officer on school grounds shall be directed to the county prosecutor or in the case of a search, seizure or arrest undertaken by the Division of Criminal Justice's designee in the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, to the assigned assistant attorney general;
  6. The procedures for and responsibilities of staff, with regard to interviews of students suspected of possessing or distributing a controlled dangerous substance, including anabolic steroids, drug paraphernalia or a firearm or other deadly weapon;

  7. Procedures for planning, approving, and conducting undercover school operations.

    • i. The chief school administrator and school principal shall cooperate with law enforcement authorities in the planning and conduct of undercover school operations. The chief school administrator shall approve undercover operations without prior notification to the district board of education.
    • ii. All information concerning requests to undertake an undercover school operation, information supplied by law enforcement authorities to justify the need for and explain a proposed undercover school operation, and all other information concerning an ongoing undercover school operation, including the identity of any undercover officer placed in a school, shall be kept strictly confidential by the chief school administrator and school principal.
    • iii. The chief school administrator and principal shall not divulge information concerning an undercover school operation to any person without the prior express approval of the county prosecutor or designee.
    • iv. The chief school administrator, principal, or any other school staff or district board of education member who may have been informed regarding the existence of the undercover school operation shall immediately communicate to the county prosecutor or designee if he or she subsequently learns of information that suggests the undercover officer's true identity has been revealed, the undercover officer's identity or status as a bona fide member of the school community has been questioned, or the integrity of the undercover school operation has been in any other way compromised;
  8. The procedures for and responsibilities of staff concerning the safe and proper handling of a seized controlled dangerous substance, including anabolic steroids, drug paraphernalia, or a firearm or other deadly weapon, and the prompt delivery of the items to appropriate law enforcement authorities in accordance with this subchapter;

  9. The procedures for and responsibilities of staff in notifying authorities of a suspected violation of laws prohibiting the possession, sale or other distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, including anabolic steroids, drug paraphernalia, or a firearm or other deadly weapon;

  10. Provisions for requesting uniformed police attendance at extracurricular school events;

  11. Provisions for notifying parents as soon as possible whenever a student is arrested for violating a law prohibiting the possession, sale or other distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, including anabolic steroids, drug paraphernalia, or a firearm or other deadly weapon;

  12. Provisions for in-service training of school staff concerning policies and procedures established in this subchapter, and the exchange of information regarding the practices of the school district and law enforcement agencies;

  13. A memorandum of agreement with appropriate law enforcement authorities.

    • i. The memorandum of agreement shall be consistent with the policies and procedures established in this subchapter and shall be consistent with the format and content established by the State Attorney General and the Commissioner.
    • ii. The memorandum of agreement shall define the reciprocal rights and obligations of students, parents, school staff, and law enforcement officials with respect to the possession, distribution, and disposition of controlled dangerous substances, including anabolic steroids, drug paraphernalia, and firearms and other deadly weapons; with respect to the planning and conduct of law enforcement activities and operations occurring on school grounds, including arrests and undercover school operations; and with respect to the participation of law enforcement officials in alcohol or other drug abuse prevention programs.
    • iii. Copies of all memoranda of agreements entered into with law enforcement authorities shall be submitted to and approved by the county prosecutor, executive county superintendent of schools, president of the district board of education, chief school administrator, and chief of the police department or station commander.
  14. An annual process for the chief school administrator and appropriate law enforcement officials to discuss the implementation and need for revising the memorandum of agreement, and to review the effectiveness of policies and procedures implemented pursuant to this subchapter.

    • i. The annual review shall include input from the executive county superintendent, community members, and meeting(s) with the county prosecutor and other law enforcement officials designated by the county prosecutor.
    • ii. The memorandum of agreement may be revised only to include provisions that are in addition to and do not conflict with the policies and procedures established in this subchapter and that are in addition to and do not conflict with the format and content established by the State Attorney General and the Commissioner;
  15. Provisions for contacting the chief executive officer of the involved law enforcement agency, county prosecutor, and/or Division of Criminal Justice, as necessary, to resolve disputes concerning law enforcement activities occurring on school grounds; and

  16. Provisions for directing inquiries or complaints received by school staff regarding interviews, investigations, arrests, or other operations conducted by sworn law enforcement officers to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

(c) Nothing in the policies and procedures required under this section shall be construed to prohibit school staff from disclosing information, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:32-7.2 and 7.5(f), if necessary to protect the immediate health or safety of a student or other persons.


New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:16-6.1 Adoption of policies and procedures

(a) District boards of education shall adopt and implement policies and procedures to ensure cooperation between school staff and law enforcement authorities in all matters relating to:

    1. The unlawful possession, distribution, and disposition of the following:
      • i. Controlled dangerous substances, including anabolic steroids, as defined in N.J.S.A. 24:21-2 and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-2;
      • ii. Drug paraphernalia as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:36-1;
      • iii. Alcoholic beverages;
      • iv. Firearms, as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1f; and
      • v. Other deadly weapons, as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1.r; and
    1. The planning and conduct of law enforcement activities and operations occurring on school grounds, including arrest procedures and undercover school operations.

New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:16-6.3 Reporting students or staff members to law enforcement authorities

(a) Subject to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-6.5, any staff member who, in the course of his or her employment, has reason to believe that a student or staff member has unlawfully possessed or in any way been involved in the distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, including anabolic steroids, or drug paraphernalia shall report the matter as soon as possible to the principal or, in the absence of the principal, to the staff member responsible at the time of the alleged violation.

    1. Either the principal or the responsible staff member shall notify the chief school administrator, who in turn shall notify as soon as possible the appropriate county prosecutor or other law enforcement official designated by the county prosecutor to receive such information.
    1. The chief school administrator or designee shall provide to the county prosecutor or designee all known information concerning the matter, including the identity of the student or staff member involved.
    1. The chief school administrator or designee, however, shall not disclose the identity of a student or staff member who has voluntarily sought and participated in an appropriate treatment or counseling program for an alcohol or other drug abuse problem, provided the student or staff member is not reasonably believed to be involved or implicated in drug-distribution activities.
      • i. For the purpose of this section, an admission by a student or staff member in response to questioning initiated by the principal or teaching staff member, or following the discovery by the principal or teaching staff member of a controlled dangerous substance, including anabolic steroids, or drug paraphernalia, shall not constitute a voluntary, self-initiated request for counseling and treatment.
    1. The chief school administrator or designee may disclose to law enforcement authorities the identity of a student suspected to be under the influence of alcohol and/or controlled dangerous substances, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-4.3(a), or a student suspected to have used or who may be using anabolic steroids, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-4.3(b), and who is referred for a medical examination, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-4.3(a) or (b), as appropriate, for the purposes of providing appropriate health care for the student and for determining whether the student is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs or has been using anabolic steroids, provided the student is not reasonably believed to be in possession of a controlled dangerous substance or drug paraphernalia, or to be involved or implicated in drug distribution activities.
    1. Law enforcement authorities shall not be notified of the findings if a student's alcohol or other drug test, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-4.3(a)3i and (b)3i, and (a)4 above, was obtained as a result of the district board of education's voluntary random drug testing policy, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:40A-22 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 6A:16-4.4.

(b) Whenever a school employee develops reason to believe a firearm, as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1(f) and 18 U.S.C. § 921, or other deadly weapon, whether enumerated in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1(r), except a firearm as defined by N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1(f) and 18 U.S.C. § 921, has unlawfully been brought onto school grounds or a student or other person is in unlawful possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon on or off school grounds, or a student or other person has committed an offense with or while in possession of a firearm on or off school grounds or during school operating hours, the matter shall be reported as soon as possible to the principal, or in the absence of the principal, to the staff member responsible at the time of the alleged violation.

    1. Either the principal or the responsible staff member shall notify the chief school administrator, who in turn shall notify as soon as possible the county prosecutor or other law enforcement official designated by the county prosecutor to receive such information.
    1. The chief school administrator or designee shall provide to the county prosecutor or designee all known information concerning the matter, including the identity of the student or staff member involved.

(c) The designated school official, as defined in (b)1 above, shall immediately notify the designated law enforcement official whenever a school employee in the course of his or her employment develops reason to believe a student has threatened, is planning or otherwise intends to cause death, serious bodily injury, or significant bodily injury to another person under circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe the student genuinely intends at some time in the future to commit the violent act or carry out the threat.

(d) The designated school official, as defined in (b)1 above, shall immediately notify the designated law enforcement official whenever a school employee in the course of his or her employment develops reason to believe a crime involving sexual penetration or criminal sexual conduct has been committed on school grounds, or by or against a student during school operating hours or during school-related functions or activities.

(e) School employees shall immediately notify the principal and chief school administrator when in the course of their employment they develop reason to believe a bias-related act has been committed or is about to be committed on school grounds, or has been or is about to be committed by a student on or off school grounds, and whether such offense was or is to be committed during operating school hours, or a student enrolled in the school has been or is about to become the victim of a bias-related act on or off school grounds, or during operating school hours.

    1. The designated school official, as defined in (b)1 above, shall promptly notify the local police department and the bias investigation officer for the county prosecutor's office in the instances described in (e) above.
    1. The designated school official, as defined in (b)1 above, shall immediately notify the local police department and the bias investigation officer for the county prosecutor's office where there is reason to believe a bias-related act that involves an act of violence has been or is about to be physically committed against a student, or there is otherwise reason to believe a life has been or will be threatened.

(f) All incidents shall be reported under this section utilizing the Electronic Violence and Vandalism Reporting System, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-5.3(e)1, where appropriate.

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