The Contra Costa Times printed the following story by Jason Sweeney.
Drug-detection dogs are returning to Dublin schools after a five-year absence.
On Tuesday, the board of trustees voted 3-0-1 to reinstate the drug-detection dog program at its secondary schools. Trustee Dan Cunningham was the one abstention.
Deputies from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office will use the drug-sniffing dogs to search Dublin High School, Fallon Middle School, Wells Middle School and Valley High continuation school a few times a year at no cost to the district.
The dogs are also capable of detecting prescription narcotics, alcohol, tobacco, knives, guns and fireworks.
Before the dogs return, students will attend assemblies educating them on the program.
"We see this as part of a plan to ensure that our campuses are safe and drug-free," said Dublin schools Superintendent Stephen Hanke. "It is an issue that is important and something that needs to be dealt with."
Bryce Custodio, director of student services, said she expects at least one search at the two middle schools and Valley High before the end of the school year, with all four secondary schools being searched a few times a year starting in the fall.
"I watch the data every year," Custodio said. "We haven't really seen a spike in suspensions or expulsions for drug possession or sales. But we had this opportunity with our sheriff's department. It's a nice partnership that we're working on."
The program was suspended in 2007 because of budget constraints, the dogs quite often found marijuana or fireworks, mostly in parked cars at Valley High School, where Custodio had been principal.
She said the dogs are one part of an overall plan to reduce student use of illegal substances.
"It's just another deterrent, and that's how I see it," said Custodio.
Students who are found in possession face a variety of punishments, from suspension to expulsion to arrest.
Eighteen students in the district have been expelled for possessing alcohol, marijuana or knives since 2009. Eighty students were expelled between 2008 and 2011 for possession or being under the influence of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, Ecstasy or prescription drugs.
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