Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Eastern High School gets random drug search Wednesday morning


Alamance-Burlington school system officials, in cooperation with the Alamance County sheriff’s K-9 division, conducted a random drug search at Eastern High School Wednesday morning.

In this 2018 photo, deputy Mike Herron with his trained drug-sniffing canine “Ransom,” who alerted to a book bag with drugs during a demonstration at the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office.

The K-9 didn’t alert on any items that would’ve indicated the presence of illegal drugs, ABSS public information officer Les Atkins confirmed Wednesday afternoon for The Alamance News.
ABSS superintendent Dr. Dain Butler announced last week that he will have a “zero-tolerance” approach to crimes on school property that involve possession of weapons; assault on staff; gang-related fights; and/or possession of illegal drugs (see related story, this edition).

“This all goes back to Dr. Butler’s statement last week as to zero tolerance, whether it [may be] drugs or the threat of violence, so he invited them to come in today,” Atkins told the newspaper Wednesday.

In addition to Butler’s decision to ramp up enforcement of existing ABSS policies pertaining to crimes on school property, Wednesday’s random drug search represents a continuation of former ABSS interim superintendent Dr. Jim Merrill’s decision earlier this year to conduct random drug searches at the middle and high schools.

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Atkins confirmed for the newspaper Wednesday that drug-sniffing dogs will be used to conduct random searches at all ABSS middle and high schools.

Known as “K-9 officers,” these dogs are trained to detect illegal drugs, explosives, fire accelerants, and/or other illegal materials. The K-9s are statutorily required to be accompanied by sworn law enforcement officers who are certified K-9 handlers.

An ABSS policy further prescribes that all K-9s must be accompanied by certified trainers who are responsible for the dog’s actions and can verify the dogs’ reliability and accuracy in sniffing out illegal drugs.

A landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1985 established that drug searches in K-12 public schools do not violate students’ right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

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