Ban, Search and Seize Harmful Items


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Purpose of this policy

To support principals’ in understanding and implementing their powers to ban, search for and seize harmful items as set out in legislative and regulatory frameworks.


Principals can declare and ban harmful items from school premises, or in the possession of students at school or when engaged in teacher supervised activities. Principals and authorised teachers have the power to search for and seize these items.

Principals should use the Department’s Banning, Searching and Seizing Harmful Items Guidelines to develop and implement processes to ensure school premises as well as teacher supervised activities are safe and free from harmful items, see: Banning, Searching and Seizing Harmful Items Guidelines

Key Components

This table lists the key components of the Banning, Searching and Seizing of Harmful Items Guidelines


Declaration of harmful items

Describes the types of items that a principal may decide to declare as harmful.

Searching for and seizing harmful items

Provides advice on searching school premises, premises being occupied by students or vehicles being used during a teacher supervised activity and any bag or other article being used by students as storage.

Action to be taken after search and seizure

Provides advice on the action to be taken when the seized item is:

  • a firearm, ammunition or prohibited weapon
  • not a firearm or prohibited weapon.
Authorisation of a teacherProvides advice about when a principal can authorise a teacher to conduct a search and, if needed, seize a harmful item/s.
Schedule 1 – Controlled and prohibited weaponsProvides definitions of harmful items i.e. controlled and prohibited weapons.
Schedule 2 – Example of a declaration of harmful itemProvides a template form that can be used when declaring and banning harmful items at the school.

Confiscating other items

The Banning, Searching and Seizing of Harmful Items Guidelines do not include mobile phones, drugs or alcohol.

If staff have concerns about students concealing items such as cigarettes or items used to disrupt lessons or distract students in class, they should instruct the student to hand over the item(s) and if the student refuses to hand over the items, implement the relevant disciplinary provision within the student code of conduct. 

The security of these confiscated items rests with the staff responsible.

If the item is something likeThen as soon as practicable give it to the

cigarettes, alcohol


jewellery, mobile phone

student at the end of the day.

For more information on student with mobile phones, alcohol or drug related items, see: Related Policies

Related policies

Department resources

Related legislation and regulations

  • Education and Training Reform Amendment (School Safety) Act  2011
  • Education and Training Reform Amendment (School Safety) Regulations 2011