- Print Editions
by Aly Peet-Lukes
At Tuesday’s school board meeting the school board decided 3-2 to implement drug sniffing dogs on campus to do random drug searches in lockers and other popular areas on campus.
School board member Laura Emdee believes that the drug sniffing dogs are an invasion of student privacy.
“I don’t think its going to solve the [drug]problem,” she said. “It is just a part of the entire plan to eliminate drugs on campus, which would include education, peer pressure, and creating an environment where [drug use] is not acceptable.”
Although she was opposed to the idea of drug-sniffing dogs, she still voted yes at the school board meeting.
“Administrators were for it and students seemed to be for it. Nobody spoke out against it. I couldn’t find anybody who so as against it as I was,” she said.
Emdee ultimately decided to vote in favor of it because the drug searches became very “watered- down”.
“I don’t think that it will be very intrusive now,” she said.
Emdee encourages students to attend school board meetings and to voice their opinions about school policies.
“If the students find that there is a problem or [the drug searches] are really unfair or just not acceptable they need to let [the school board] know about it,” she said.
Student board representative senior Brooke O’Neil believes that the introduction of drug-sniffing dogs to the campus will act as a deterrent for students who bring drugs to school.
“I don’t think kids think [drug possession] is that serious. I think knowing that there will be random searches will keep drugs off school,” she said.
A poll was conducted on Sammy Seahawk’s Facebook page asking students if they would be okay with drug sniffing dogs who are allowed to sniff backpacks and students. The students who participated in the poll mainly voted that it was a “violation of privacy”.
However, another poll was conducted asking students if they would be okay with drug-sniffing dogs if they were only allowed to sniff lockers. The students who participated in the poll voted that it would not be an invasion of privacy. O’Neil used the outcomes of the poll as the deciding factor for her vote.
“If students had voted against the drug-sniffing dogs who were allowed to sniff lockers poll I would have voted no. Since I am a student representative I really wanted to do what students were in favor of. Since [the students who took the poll] were okay with [the drug-sniffing dogs] I was okay with it,” she said.
O’Neil’s vote of “yes” for the dogs swayed one other member of the school board to vote “yes” for the dogs, passing the amendment.
According to Principal Nicole Wesley, the dogs will not intrude on student privacy.
“The dogs will not go into classrooms and will never sniff a student. The dogs will only sniff lockers and common areas, and they do it while all students are in class. It is likely [students] will not see the dogs,” she said.
Wesley does not want students to feel like they are not trusted, but wants to keep the school as safe as possible.
“Students do bring drugs on our campus and expose others,” she said. “My daughter may come to RUHS one day, and I hope she is not exposed to drugs on campus.”
[How do teachers and school board members feel about the decision? Read a follow-up to this article.]