By Chase Stevens ’12
Many students have recently noticed drug sniffing dogs doing their job during lunch.
While many may think these dogs are a new addition to the campus, they have been around for a while.
“The canine unit has been around for five years. We switched to a new company this year,” said Dean Mr. Patrick Higgins.
“We have had the drug dogs on campus for a while, but most students seemed to notice them when Interquest (the company that brings the dogs) did a sweep of the mall,” Mr. Higgins said.
Another student assumption is the dogs can only smell illegal narcotics. They are also trained to smell many other things.
Mr. Higgins said they can smell an unopened beer can, and they’ve discovered gun powder in students’ cars after they’ve gone on hunting trips.”
“We’ve tested these dogs and found that they are very accurate,” Mr. Higgins said.
Not all people see the dogs as favorably.
“I think if the school thinks it’s necessary, then it’s okay, but it feels like they’re infringing on the students’ right to privacy,” said Jesus Betancourt ’13.
When asked about privacy concerns, Mr. Higgins said that while he does see where they’re coming from, he values the safety and health of the students, and that’s why the administration uses the drug dogs.
Principal Mr. Bob Ryan said that “students agree to waive most of their constitutional rights when they elect to enroll in the school. We have a clearly defined code of conduct that all students agree to when they enroll.”
Administrators said the purpose of the dogs isn’t to catch students, but rather to encourage a healthier lifestyle.
“The main guiding principle of this program is that we need to act … so that our students make safe and healthy choices,” Mr. Ryan said.
“I wish we didn’t catch a single student,” Mr. Higgins said.
“The purpose of the dogs is not to get students into trouble,” Mr. Higgins said. “Instead, it serves as a deterrent to drug use. Kids aren’t going to do drugs if they’re going to get caught.”