I know this probably isn’t the first time this has happened in the US, but is this really legal? Maybe a civil liberties court battle is heating up right down the road from me.
MANCHESTER, VT — Burr and Burton Academy announced Tuesday it will use a police dog to sniff out drug paraphernalia and other illegal substances on its campus.
The initiative is intended to deter students who may consider bringing banned substances onto school grounds and underline the existing no-tolerance policy on drug and alcohol use, said Headmaster Charles W. Scranton. There was no single incident that convinced the school’s administration the time had come to take this step, he said.
The school seems to think this is quite OK, but there are some dissenters:
The Headmaster commented, “I have checked with our school’s attorney, and the courts have decided that the presence of drugs on campus compromises the well-being of students,” he said. “There is precedent upon precedent for schools to use reasonable means when it comes to drugs to ensure the safety of their students.”
School officials already are allowed to search students’ vehicles or book bags if they have a suspicion a student may be carrying or under the influence of banned substances, Scranton said.
But the idea of bringing a police dog onto a school setting in conjunction with a search of student lockers or school corridors was alarming, said civil liberties attorney Stephen Saltonstall of Bennington.
Schools need to have some specific reason to suspect a specific student — the U.S. Constitution does not condone random searches, he said. “There’s a serious civil liberty issue at stake,” he said. “It should cause parents and students some concern.”
The whole article: link.