NJ High School to Use Dogs to Find Drugs

A high school in Milburn, NJ announced it will begin using drug dogs on campus.

[T]he district superintendent, Richard Brodow, wrote in an e-mail message to parents and students Friday afternoon. “I willingly risk student trust if it saves a single life."

The ACLU responds:

The New York Civil Liberties Union has called police dog searches “incompatible with nurturing environments that are supposed to be conducive to adolescent education,” and argued that school districts must create a careful balance between school safety and student rights.

This is part of a growing trend. And this opportunist is offering dogs to search private homes.

< Spain May Reopen Criminal Investigation of Bush Lawyers Over Guantanamo | Saturday Open Thread: Dancing in the Dark >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    O.M.F.G. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by nycstray on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 04:08:34 PM EST
    Debra and Debbie have both managed large teams, have led strategic and operationally complex initiatives which required cross functional organizational alignment and have developed partnership models within and outside of their companies. These skills have helped integrate Sniff Dogs into the drug prevention ecosystem where they partner with community drug prevention coalitions. Along with their handlers, Debra and Debbie are certified with the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association (NNDDA), speak regulary on the topic of drug detection and are advocates for drug free workplaces, homes and schools.


    keep these women far, far away from me (and my dog!). {twitch}

    Hysteria without end. (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Romberry on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 04:18:11 PM EST
    "I willingly risk student trust if it saves a single life."

    Utter hysteria. Are not the vast majority of drugs found in high schools and used as a basis for disciplinary action of the soft (read "marijuana") and/or non-prescription (read "Advil, Motrin, Tylenol, Midol, etc") variety?

    This whole "if it saves a single life" shtick used as an argument for eviscerating what may be left of privacy and other basic liberties reminds me of the same sort of...fertilizer...used to justify extra-legal actions (meaning outside of the law) in the GWOT right up to imprisonment without charge or trial. Hell, maybe it would save a few lives if the school district would haul in a few of the "Kool Kidz" and torture them for info on which of their classmates are carrying, using or dealing.

    Where does all of this stop? The madness seems to have no end and it is infiltrating seemingly every level of our society.

    What I wanna know is what the hell has happened to things like probable cause and freedom from unwarranted searches?

    This is America (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by lentinel on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 07:45:26 PM EST
    Let's have bomb-sniffing-pot-sniffing-Advil-sniffing beasts cruising the halls of our schools, homes and workplaces.
    Let's have surveillance cameras in every doorway and on every corner and in every room everywhere. Let's have recording devices in every public area, every streetcorner, in every car, in every bus, in every subway. Let's have cameras watching us as we use our computers. Let's have bugs on every telephone, cellphone and gramophone. Let's have laser motion sensors in every nook and cranny and closet. Let's have our fingerprints taken every time we eat at a luncheonette as we're being observed and photographed through the two-way mirror.

    Now I can relax.

    This is America (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Zorba on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 08:25:30 PM EST
    Yes..... sadly, why do I keep thinking of George Orwell? Big Brother is indeed watching us, and modern technology makes it that much worse.

    Back in the day, when I was in high (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 10:28:31 PM EST
    school - I graduated in 1971 - there were no restrictions on being able to carry aspirin or Tylenol or Midol - or whatever OTC drugs you wanted or needed.  We were also smoking pot - and cigarettes - in the bathrooms, and outside between classes.

    When my kids were in school, you couldn't even carry so much as an aspirin without risking suspension/expulsion - although they did - eventually - at least let parents sign permission slips to allow the school nurse to dispense ibuprofen and acetaminaphen and cough drops and such, so that the kid who had a headache or a sore throat or cramps could at least get some relief "legally."

    I'm not advocating total permissivness across the board, but it's just insane to think that the schools and the police can somehow stop what has been going on forever.  If my kid is prone to migraines, why can't she carry some OTC medication?  If she gets bad cramps every month, why must she go to the nurse to get medication?  If she has a cold or a sore throat, why can't she carry Dayquil or Hall's - I mean, it has gotten to the point where kid is not even allowed to carry a freakin' cough drop without violating the "no drugs" policy - we have completely lost our grip on sanity and common sense.


    civil liberties red herring (2.50 / 2) (#28)
    by diogenes on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 08:12:05 AM EST
    If people here want to legalize pot and other drugs for teens, say so. Otherwise, if the schoolkids are warned that the dogs might be coming then they are free to keep their stashes at home and not bring them to school.  

    Again, this isn't just about illegal drugs (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Romberry on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:52:50 PM EST
    Advil, Midol...even aspirin...can get you in trouble/suspended and (if you give a dose to another student) expelled. In addition to that, when did things like civil liberties and rights to things like probable cause before searches become a red herring?

    I realize that the rights of school children are balanced and limited by the needs of maintaining order, but I am and always have been a proponent of maintaining a balance which preserves rights to as large a degree as possible. Searches by dogs without probable cause seems to me to be part of training for mindless submission to a police state.


    Ditto: BernieO (2.00 / 1) (#10)
    by noonan on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 05:01:31 PM EST
    I teach. This has been going on for my 15 year career. We just had a sweep two weeks ago. The staff wishes we had them more often, but the cost prevents it.

    One policy we have: no dogs near students. Some of the dogs go absolutely crazy when they hit, so we don't want to put any kids in harm's way while searching. Just lockers and car exteriors, and we only have them come through if we have a solid lead. With two teams and a dozen schools in the area, it's tough getting them in as it is.

    Taking taxpayer money for this is (none / 0) (#24)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 10:04:17 PM EST
    adding insult to injury.

    Glad you teachers enjoy this process. Let's hope they never expand it to include your personal space. Especially if one or more students, or a fellow teacher, who may feel you have been unjust toward them decide to taint your area.

    Do the staff wish these happened more often because it makes their jobs easier somehow, or because they have some twisted idea that this practice makes the students lives better?

    This is why I have such a difficult time ever siding with the teachers.


    strawman (2.00 / 1) (#27)
    by english teacher on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 11:27:31 PM EST
    you can't take away from that comment that the poster supports the policy.  you certainly can't say that teachers support it as a whole, nor can you reasonably expect teachers to stop it if they did oppose drug sniffing dogs as a whole.  for you to wish teachers to lose rights along with the students because they are not doing what you want them to do is vile.  

    Milburn? Really? (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 04:08:02 PM EST

    Wow - both my parents went to (none / 0) (#21)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 09:13:45 PM EST
    Millburn HS, about 100 years ago - my dad graduated in 1943 and my mom in 1948.

    Drug dogs are being used in my niece's high school in a rural/suburban area of Harford County, MD; in fact, she told me that while the drug dogs were there last week, someone OD'd.

    The drugs, they are everywhere.


    Yes they are everywhere... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by kdog on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 09:21:38 AM EST
    because we refuse to legalize, regulate, and restrict sale to minors.

    Wasn't long ago when I was in HS...grass, coke, LSD, X, pills, even H were all available in the cafeteria if ya knew who to ask, getting some Jack Daniels was a real pain in the arse by comparison.

    Anecdotal perhaps, and we didn't have snarling dogs (thank god), just random locker searches and a snitch program. Legalize and regulate is more effective than dogs and treating schools like prisons in keeping kids away from dope, imo.

    And the bonus, adults get their liberty back.


    This has been going on for years (none / 0) (#3)
    by BernieO on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 04:11:28 PM EST
    My children's suburban schools used drug dogs to do random locker searches back in the mid 90's. The kids always laughed about the fact that one of their friend's sandwich was half eaten by a drug dog. This was never controversial, but I know strip searches would have been.

    the supreme court is hearing the (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 04:19:10 PM EST
    strip search case next month.

    The increased frequency of using dogs in schools is just more desperation, sends the wrong message, dissolves trust and is as stupid a concept as "Just Say No."


    I'm actually a little scared (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Lil on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 04:23:40 PM EST
    that the Supreme Court will side with the school on this one. The potential for abuse with strip searcing is way too big, imo.

    Go one further.... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by kdog on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 09:23:39 AM EST
    the potential abuse of power inherent in a strict prohibitionist policy is too great, imo.

    I don't know the answer (none / 0) (#6)
    by Lil on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 04:20:41 PM EST
    but after watching my son turn into a complete psycho after developing a heroin addiction; I really wish society would come up with an effective plan. Personally I'm for legalizing all drugs, just like booze, and then have some measure of control of where and how much etc. Do these types of dogs actually find drugs in places they are stored?

    A proper drug dog will find (none / 0) (#8)
    by nycstray on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 04:33:22 PM EST
    drugs where they are stored or have been. They have amazing abilities. There's actually a service here that uses beagles for finding bed bugs, lol!~ I like the beagle brigade that does fruits and veggies at the airport.

    OMG (none / 0) (#9)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 04:55:58 PM EST
    I met a beagle/basset mix at the airport and he was adorable. 7 years old and when he retires in a year the handler gets to take him home. And yes, the dog also sits for weed, although he was used by dept of agriculture for fruits and veg.

    Wow. I never have that kinda good fortune (none / 0) (#11)
    by nycstray on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 05:37:11 PM EST
    at the airport!

    I may train my girl to do some tracking just for fun. She already has sniff on command for walking in the parks. She's too funny when she gets on a scent. Although, if we did fruits or veggies, she would eat them vs sit {rolls eyes}. She successfully got my carrots the other night . . . .


    Yes (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 05:44:52 PM EST
    I could  not stop petting the little critter. Of course I had to battle away the small group of children that has also surrounded the hound. He was jumping up and lots of kisses...

    Eventually the official pried himself away as the dog had to get back to work, petting break was over.


    they do it my kids school (none / 0) (#13)
    by jharp on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 06:27:42 PM EST
    My kids high school in central Indiana uses dogs for searches.

    If I remember correctly they first use some sort of diversion and ask the kids to leave their backpacks in hall for a safety evacuation or something like that.

    And they also use the dogs in the school parking lot to search the students cars.

    Where are the parents in all this? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 06:43:48 PM EST
    They can't all be condoning this activity. It wouldn't take much to shake these people into realizing they are only in control of our children to the level of basic teaching.

    Schools have been trying to expand their boundaries of authority over our children for a long time. Every inch they get, is another mile they will go for. They should not be involved in D.A.R.E. or G.R.E.A.T. or sex education or sensitivity training. Every bit of that encourages these teachers, untrained in the emotional impact they have on developing children, to think they have far more authority than they should ever have.

    I recall a surge of students pulled from local public schools in protest (sent to private or home schooled) caused administrators to back off their disciplinary tactics because every one of those departing students took funding $$ with them.

    I haven't met too many people I would have thought could possibly have cared as much or more than I did/do about the well-being of my children on every level of life. My children knew/know that and I think that was probably the key to their/my success. I went to battle (and won) more than once with teachers and administrators over things they tried to do that I was not going to allow.

    Where is (none / 0) (#15)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 07:25:31 PM EST
    the teachers union on this?

    I think I must have grown up on another planet. (none / 0) (#16)
    by JSN on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 07:26:54 PM EST
    Some of my classmates would bring shotguns to school and put them in their lockers so they could go pheasant hunting as soon as
    school let out.

    We did have announced locker inspections because they did not allow food or drinks in lockers to control rodents and insects. They may also have been looking for booze but they did not say so. I doubt they even thought about drugs in those days.

    This is a regular occurrence (none / 0) (#17)
    by teachpeace on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 07:36:07 PM EST
    at the high school where I work (Colorado Springs) and has been for the 5 years I have worked in the building.  It use to happen a couple of times each school year, but I'd say it's probably a monthly occurrence now.  The school "locks down" and the dogs are brought through every classroom.

    where does Biden stand on this (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jlvngstn on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 09:12:21 PM EST

    lol my school needs a (none / 0) (#22)
    by english teacher on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 09:24:38 PM EST
    cell phone and mp3 player sniffing dog.