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Steamboat Springs schools to add drug-sniffing dog

Associated PressSteamboat Springs, CO Colorado

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colorado A drug-sniffing dog will start randomly searching middle and high schools in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.School officials say they’re planning to borrow a K-9 officer on an unannounced day for drug checks in school hallways and parking lots. The inspections will take place in coming months after parents are told about the searches in school meetings.Steamboat Springs High School Principal Kevin Taulman said the searches would help deter students from considering bringing contraband to school.”I’m very comfortable with the way we’re doing this, letting everyone know,” Taulman told The Steamboat Pilot & Today.More than 1,000 public schools across the nation use drug-sniffing dogs, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.The Steamboat Springs Police Department will help with the searches, and school administrators will be in charge of searching lockers. If drugs are found, students would face expulsion and criminal charges.Steamboat Springs Middle School students will also hold an assembly to learn how the drug-sniffing dog works.At least one school board member objected to the idea at a meeting last week. John DeVincentis said he worried about a “police mentality that’s running rampant in our community” and questioned the efficacy of a drug dog.The board adopted the idea without a vote because it is an administrative policy.Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said the searches are needed because of a growing drug problem.”We have twice the drug problem this year we did least year,” she said.However, drug-sniffing dogs have led to complaints in some schools that have used them.The ACLU last year asked a Connecticut school district to stop dog searches, and in 2003 a South Carolina school came under fire when dogs were used as armed officers ordered students to lie on the floor during a drug search. Those students were later awarded $1.6 million in a class-action settlement.___


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