Strip searches in schools: the tags remain unchanged

hiver-dernier-polyvalente-neufchatel-banlieueNearly a year after the outcry over the strip search of a high school student, guidelines governing this type of intervention remain unchanged despite a recent instruction of the Minister of Education formally banning. The search continues in fact to be permitted in schools if there are “reasonable grounds”.

In Montreal, all directions of public and private schools have just signed an agreement with the Police Service of the City of Montreal (SPVM) repeating almost word for word the old framework from 2005, the latest version dates back to 2010 .

The agreement indicates that stakeholder institutions “have the right to conduct a search of a student and his personal effects.” It goes further by allowing directions to seize articles including “possession or use” is prohibited under the code of life. There is talk of narcotics, any instrument that can be used as weapons, but also any technological device.

In all cases, precise do we include in the document approved by the commissioners of the Commission scolaire de Montreal (CSDM) that La Presse has obtained, the search of a student and his personal effects are allowed provided that there are “reasonable grounds”. For reasonable grounds means a good reason to “believe” that a rule of the establishment “has been raped or is being violated,” or a reason to believe that evidence of the violation can be found on “places on the student or in his belongings.”

Pursuit

Last winter, in a secondary school in the suburbs of Quebec, the management asked a 15 year old student to undress under a sheet to check if she was hiding drugs. A text was originally suspicious. Her parents have since launched a further $ 380,000 in court under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. According to their lawyer, Mr. François-David Bernier, the agreement with the SPVM does that maintaining the “blur”.

“Whether it’s good or bad faith, there was confusion last year, he estimated. The pendulum has swung too far, and that is where is blurring. I see that nothing has changed, there is a blur in the agreement that leaves room for abuse. ”

Investigation

The Minister François Blais has yet received clear recommendations following an investigation that he himself had ordered last spring. The former prosecutor of the House of Youth, Ms. Fabienne Bouchard, recommended to review the framework of police presence in schools, to forge partnerships to ensure student safety and to ensure the training for school staff.

A first

The SPVM, the service relationships with media interview requests redirected to the CSDM, stating that their interventions in schools were “rare”. After verification, the spokesman for the school board, Alain Perron, stated that the new agreement was more “official.” “It was not as sharp as before, he said. We followed the law according to a provincial table. It is now official. This is a first. ”

At the office of the Minister Blais, his press secretary, Julie White, confined itself to remember that strip searches are strictly forbidden since the controversy last winter that the directive was sent to all schools in September school. At the Commission scolaire de la Capitale, Quebec City region, no one remembered us.

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