Drug Sniffing Dogs Search Schools

By: Shane Symolon Email
By: Shane Symolon Email

One local school system is taking a proactive step against drugs by randomly searching its schools with drug sniffing dogs.

Each Augusta County high school and middle school have surprise searches conducted through the halls once or twice a year.

Augusta County Schools Superintendent Dr. Gary McQuain says it's a message to students, parents and the community that drugs are not acceptable at school.

"It's something that's completely random. I, as superintendent, do not know. They call me the moment they pull on the parking lot. That's how I know which school it is, or what day it is. I never know what day it is," says McQuain.

Students are placed in a lock-down situation where they leave the classrooms, which allows the dogs to jump on desks to search books. The dogs also check the lockers.

"It's really a deterrent to let them know that we do take drugs in the schools as a serious matter, and we'll do whatever we can to keep them out of schools," says Sgt. Bill Bishop.

Sometimes they catch someone, and McQuain says that's a good thing, because it gives the school a chance to start working with the student.

"By doing the random, unannounced-type walk through, we sometimes catch people with residue and other types of things on them and then we can begin to work with parents and families to get these individuals some help," says McQuain.

He says the effort goes beyond just the school because the searches can catch problems early.

"I think it's a larger plan to combat drugs in our community. One area the sheriff's department is focusing on is through our resource officers is the schools," says McQuain.

On Tuesday, both Stuarts Draft High and Beverly Manor Middle schools were searched.

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