As reported by the Peninsula Gateway, recently “drug-sniffing dogs from multiple agencies visited Gig Harbor High School” to sniff out any illicit drugs. What exactly did the dogs find? Upon searching a student’s car, “a trace amount of marijuana shake was found in the cup holders and center console area, but no quantity was located for destruction or booking, according to the Gig Harbor Police Department.”
“Trace amounts,” in one car, that’s it. So was treating every student at the school like a criminal suspect worth it? I think not.
Substance abuse by youth is a serious issue that has been ongoing for decades. Drug possession and use at schools isn't and shouldn’t be allowed. However, involving the criminal justice system at a school-wide level, in which all students are presumed suspect without any evidence of wrongdoing, is a bad idea. Some schools, such as the Nine Mile Falls School District north of Spokane, have seen the light and discontinued the use of drug dogs. Schools should be a place where students feel safe and secure and can learn in a nurturing environment. In the event that a student develops a substance abuse problem, it should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal one. Students struggling with addiction need medical help, not a trip to the juvenile detention center.
Unfortunately, the use of drug dogs in schools is increasing. This can only lead to more incidents such as the one that occurred at Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina in 2003. Watch for yourself: