Superintendent's Memo #313-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

December 17, 2010

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Recent Opinions Issued by the Office of the Attorney General

The following opinions were among those issued by the Office of the Attorney General in November 2010. These opinions represent the Attorney General's analysis of the current state of the law based on his review of existing law and relevant prior court decisions. Please click on the opinion number below to access the full opinion.

10-105 Searches and seizures of students' cellular phones and laptops are permitted when there is a reasonable suspicion that the student is violating the law or the rules of the school. School officials should not share explicit materials depicting minors with other school personnel, but rather the material should be brought to the attention of the appropriate law enforcement agents.
10-096 A sheriff's office is permitted to assist a local school division with enforcing the compulsory attendance laws by serving notice of an upcoming meeting to the parents or custodians of a truant student, provided the local school board, division superintendent or the administration of a school has requested such assistance from the sheriff.
10-049 Based on the facts available to the Attorney General, the Board of Supervisors made an appropriation to the school board and, therefore, did not have the authority to reduce an appropriation previously made.
10-118 A school board is solely responsible for the decision as to whether and how to consolidate schools, and a county board of supervisors may not instruct the school board to consolidate schools or how to consolidate schools.

You will find other opinions related to public education on the Department of Education's Web site at  Please contact the Office of Policy at 804-225-2092, or by e-mail at, if you have any general questions about these issues. Because the Department of Education cannot provide legal advice, you should contact your local school board attorney if you need legal assistance regarding these matters.