cannabisnews.com: Dover School Board Chairman Wants to Bring in Dogs





Dover School Board Chairman Wants to Bring in Dogs
Posted by FoM on June 01, 2000 at 15:36:36 PT
By Michael Gillis & James A. Kimble
Source: Foster Daily Democrat
School Board Chairman Marc Vaillancourt says itís time to step up drug enforcement at Dover High School. "We need to bring the drug dogs in unannounced," he said, which is one way to curb escalating drug use.According to the Teen Assessment Program survey in which more than 1,600 middle and high school students in Dover answered questions about drugs, alcohol, sex and a variety of social and family issues, 47 percent of the high school students admitted to using marijuana.
This figure is equal to the national average, but lower than the New Hampshire average of 52 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Twenty-seven percent of the students said they use marijuana at least once a month or more. Seventeen percent of the high school students who took the survey said they use marijuana at least once a week.Vaillancourt believes if police drop by occasionally with the K-9 unit to sniff out drugs, students will think twice about bringing them to school.Dover Police Chief William Fenniman said the choice of putting a dog inside the high school is up to the School Board."That decision we have always left to the school administration and the school committee. We have made that offer and we have the resources."A dogís presence acts as a deterrent, Fenniman said. "What we tend to see is that most drug usage happens outside the facility; therefore, thereís not a lot of product being kept in the schools."School resource officer Wayne Sheehan disagrees with Vaillancourt that drug dogs are needed."There are a lot of really great kids at that school," he said. "I think if youíre going to make an investment in these kids you need to build a level of trust. We donít need to go to a dog just yet."Sheehan sees drug use among students fueled by several reasons ó some wanting a means of escape, to be defiant, or just trying to fit in among peers. Ultimately, their continued use boils down to personal choice, he said.Teens are in a stage of life where they experiment, and part of those life choices trickle into their life at school.But the problem, school officials said, must be rubbed out at school."We need to do more undercover work," Vaillancourt said. "Maybe Congress can pass new laws, tougher laws.""Kids also need to know weíre not fooling around," said School Board member Kevin Quigley. "The students who come before us have already been given a second chance.""We have a tough policy on it," said Dover High School Principal Bob Pedersen. "We take it right to the (School) Board."With a resource officer in place, a third vice principal and an active Youth-to-Youth group, Pedersen said drug use has diminished since last year. During the last school year, police made 22 drug-related arrests. This year, about a dozen have been made."Just the presence of a new assistant is helping spread out the vigilance," he said.The school administrator plays a crucial role in drug enforcement at school and is capable of legally conducting searches that police cannot.In fact, Pedersen and high school administrators have wide latitude to ferret out drugs thanks to a 1998 state Supreme Court decision that awarded administrators the right to search clothing and possessions.In that case, two students at Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro noticed a bag of marijuana in the book bag of another student and reported it to Principal Deborah Brooks, now the principal of Newmarket Junior/Senior High School. Brooks then searched the studentís bag and discovered the marijuana. The student informed Brooks that she had purchased the drugs in the school parking lot from another student, who was also questioned and searched.The state Supreme Court ruled that although public school officials are not exempt if they conduct unreasonable searches and seizures, they are "afforded greater flexibility than law enforcement officials when searching for contraband."In other words, if school officials have "reasonable grounds" to believe that drugs are in school or are being possessed by a student or students, they can start searching."All we need is reasonable suspicion," Pedersen reiterated. "We do not hesitate."Pedersen said officials do not "search indiscriminately" and only occasionally take advantage of the lawís flexibility.Nonetheless, according to the survey and student accounts, drugs are moving freely throughout the schools and the city. Police maintain that the transactions mostly occur off school grounds.The Dover Police Departmentís Special Investigations Bureau is involved with all drug cases in some capacity, either as an active investigator or by collecting intelligence to be shared with the attorney generalís Drug Task Force. Depositions and the processing of drug cases or other juvenile arrests are also handled through the bureau.Lt. Anthony Colarusso, head of the Special Investigations Bureau, would not speak specifically about how investigators pursue drug dealers."We do the follow-up and aggressively try to determine the bigger picture," Colarusso said. "If someone is caught with several Ďdime bagsí you try to find out the source and go from there."Police try to work closely with parents when a juvenile is arrested. But because the suspect is a juvenile, they are sometimes limited by how far they are able to pursue a case, according to the detective."Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you donít," Colarusso said.Police detectives will share information with Drug Task Force agents who follow the source of drugs. However, the agency does not use youths to set up buys as they do with adults arrested on drug charges."The Drug Task Force is reluctant to work with juveniles on cases like that," Sheehan said. "Theyíre not going to send a juvenile in to do a controlled buy. They canít say, ĎLetís go to his dealer so we can shake him down."Vaillancourt said he suspects many students are being used by adult dealers as "mules" to traffic drugs to the schools, which are typically protected by law as "drug-free zones.""(Dealers) are using kids to bring drugs in," Vaillancourt said.Adults charged with dispensing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school zone face double the penalty for their offense. For juveniles caught selling drugs, the penalty may only be as high as expulsion and a slap on the wrist in juvenile court.Colarusso disagreed with Vaillancourtís "mule" theory and said it is students who are providing students with drugs at school."The real reason is thatís where kids see each other. School becomes the meeting place," Colarusso said.Marijuana typically comes from the Lawrence, Mass., area as do most of the harder drugs such as heroin and cocaine, Colarusso said. In rural areas around the Seacoast, marijuana can also be easily grown, according to Colarusso."I think the sources have been the same for long periods of time," Colarusso said. "Most are from other juveniles or kids that may be slightly older, and really, the same is true in the school."Part 3:Editor's Note: This is the third part of a five-part series on drug use by Dover High School students. A recent survey showed that Dover teens are taking drugs at a rate slightly higher than the national average. This series talks about the problem and suggested solutions.Tomorrow Part 4: A look at high school drug arrest rates and why Dover Highís arrest rate is higher than other schools of similar size. Previous Stories:How Do High School Students Get Their Drugs? http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread5904.shtmlDover Teens Say Drugs Are Easily Obtainablehttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread5891.shtml Published: Thursday, June 1, 2000 © 2000 Geo. J. Foster Co. 
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on June 01, 2000 at 16:24:31 PT:
On a more serious note:
In the "What are we teaching our kids?" department.Teens are in a stage of life where they experiment, and part of those life choices trickle into their life at school. But the problem, school officials said, must be rubbed out at school. "We need to do more undercover work," Vaillancourt said. "Maybe Congress can pass new laws, tougher laws."Jawohl, Herr Schullmeister! Ven can I bring in ze t'umbscrews and ze hot irons?This is but another example of someone who blindly believes that his power equates with local, State or Federal power. A school official is God... in his or her own tiny bailiwick. Because of the presumption of being in loco parentis to his or her charges, the school official is used to having an authoritarian hold on said charges. But then they make the mistake of thinking that all laws are equally effective. The drug laws of this country are proven ineffective every day. But those who think a law will stop a problem never seem to tumble to that fact.And these people are in charge of teaching our children? And what are they teaching? That might is right, that's what:'In fact, Pedersen and high school administrators have wide latitude to ferret out drugs thanks to a 1998 state Supreme Court decision that awarded administrators the right to search clothing and possessions.In that case, two students at Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro noticed a bag of marijuana in the book bag of another student and reported it to Principal Deborah Brooks, now the principal of Newmarket Junior/Senior High School. Brooks then searched the studentís bag and discovered the marijuana. The student informed Brooks that she had purchased the drugs in the school parking lot from another student, who was also questioned and searched.The state Supreme Court ruled that although public school officials are not exempt if they conduct unreasonable searches and seizures, they are "afforded greater flexibility than law enforcement officials when searching for contraband." In other words, if school officials have "reasonable grounds" to believe that drugs are in school or are being possessed by a student or students, they can start searching."All we need is reasonable suspicion," Pedersen reiterated. "We do not hesitate." Pedersen said officials do not "search indiscriminately" and only occasionally take advantage of the lawís flexibility.'Yeah, right. in other words, the school officials are teaching children that whoever has the power makes the rules. I wonder how such school officials will feel when the very children they have taught that lesson to begin to implement that philosophy...against them. Like the concept of 'triage' in health care for them when they're elderly and in need of it.Yep, you better watch out what you teach your students. What is sown in callous smugness and righteousness could bear bitter fruit when it's grown. Very bitter, indeed.
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on June 01, 2000 at 16:02:28 PT:
There's nothing like a jar of Vick's Vapo-Rub!
Yessir, the mentholated gel that clears your head makes it rather difficult for Fido to zero in on any particular spot. (It won't completely stop Fido, but he has a hard time smelling anything past it, the scent is so overpowering to his sensitive schnozz.) Especially if lots of kids bring it to school and 'accidentally' smear it on the insides of every locker door. My, I'll bet lots of kids start sporting such jars, and no one will have trouble breathing at school for a while.
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