Know Your Rights: Police at School

Dec 19, 2009

Page Media

Police at School: Your Rights as a Student

Practical tips for students in California public schools when questioned, searched, or arrested by police at school.

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If you are ARRESTED by a school police officer, DO…

  • DO remain calm and cooperative. Being arrested can be scary and humiliating, but do your best to remain calm.

  • DO ask why you are being arrested.

  • DO assert your right to remain silent, by saying:

      “I am not resisting arrest.”

      “I have the right to remain silent.”

      “I would like to speak to a lawyer.”

  • DO ask for your parent or guardian to be called.

Your right to remain silent includes the right NOT to confess to a crime. Do not write or sign a written confession unless you speak with an attorney. If the police force or intimidate you into signing your name, you should immediately tell your attorney.

If you are ARRESTED by a school police officer, DON’T…

  • DON’T run away or physically resist getting arrested.

  • DON’T give them any information except your name, address, grade level, and birthday.

  • DON’T lie, give explanations, excuses, or stories.

  • DON’T talk about your case on the phone.

  • DON’T discuss your immigration status or citizenship with anyone other than your lawyer.

How are school police different than other police?

  • In California, police officers assigned to work at public schools are often called “School Resource Officers” (SROs).

  • School police can STOP & QUESTION, SEARCH, and ARREST you just like other police officers. 

  • In fact, school police sometimes have MORE authority to question you and search you, your locker, and/or your bag than other police officers.

This guide is meant to offer some basic DOs and DON’Ts when interacting with school police or School Resource Officers at your school. This list applies to the state of California only. This is not complete advice. Be sure to consult a lawyer.

Esta tarjeta también se puede obtener en español.