News


Pleasanton school board approves drug-sniffing dogs at high schools

Board delays implementation until policy governing use is approved

Drug-sniffing dogs will be coming to Pleasanton's three high schools -- but not until the end of February at the earliest.

Tuesday night, the school board approved a modified plan that would bring the dogs to high school campuses at the request of a principal, but only after a search is signed off by Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi or someone she designates.

The month delay is to allow the board to establish written policy that would allow for the canine searches. Neighboring school districts in Dublin and Livermore have such policies.

Despite the approval, there remained some hesitation from some board members. Board President Joan Laursen, for one, said she never envisioned herself as having to make such a choice.

Board member Valerie Arkin pushed for other efforts, such as the recent forums on drug and alcohol abuse, to continue and called for a revamping of the schools' DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) programs. She also suggested creating an "anonymous" posting section on the school district's web site where messages could be posted similar to the "tip line" already in place by telephone. Arkin also asked for a report after the first canine search sweep is done.

Board member Jamie Hintzke questioned the accuracy of the dogs' sniffing capabiities.

Board members agreed that use of the dogs to sweep parking lots and gym lockers should be only part of a "multi-pronged approach."

"I really view this as one of many, many tools," said board member Chris Grant.

Member Jeff Bowser opposed the motion to delay implementation of the drug dogs, which Foothill Principal John Dwyer, who proposed to plan, called "the canine protection plan."

Bowser said there was "a sense of urgency" in getting the plan up and running, noting that some kids who may have drugs in their cars are likely to be using them and driving.

Student board Member Shreya Gupta weighed in as well. Gupta said conversations with other students led to conflicting thinking about the plan. She said some students opposed the plan because they thought the searches will be a breach of their civil liberties, while she and others think the schools would be safer if kids left their drugs at home.

The board will hold two meetings, on February 14 and 28, to approve new board policy on the use of drug dogs.

"We have a problem in our schools," said Ahmadi. "We can always do a better job of letting students know that if they have drugs, they're going to be searched."

Comments

Posted by Unbelievable, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 7:36 am

"Neighboring school districts in Dublin and Livermore have such policies."

Because no one has challenged the searches. La Canada School district had a parent that sued the district and they backed off. The district is in California.

Currently, we have a case in the Supreme Court because in Florida dogs sniffed the outside of a house and based on that the house was searched. The Florida Supreme Court already ruled it was a violation of the 4th amendment.

The principal and superintendente of PUSD better have reasonable suspicion before the allow the dogs on campus, or else, get ready for a lawsuit, against them and PUSD.

I am confident that if a case goes to court, that it will rule agains the dog sniffing.

In Montana, btw, the ACLU is already looking (2001) into the dog sniffing of vehicles of students in schools' parking lots.

I will ignore the email about donating to PPIE... what for? PUSD obviously has money since they can afford to hire lawyers for the litigation that is about to start.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:13 am

This is sad news, and PUSD can count on expensive litigation if this goes forward. I hope to be at both board meetings to help dissuade them from doing this.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear that PUSD will be attaching GPS devices to every car in the parking lot too.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:18 am

This is AWESOME news to most of us. Drug use is rampant at our high schools. This is another tool in the toolbox that administrators can use to help keep drugs away from our high school campuses.

What is sad is that there are people that are probably already on the phone trying to drum up a law suit BEFORE any search has happened and they have even seen if student's rights are violated. Instead of being a partner with the administration to come up with a reasonable plan that meets everyone's needs, these individuals are bullying the schools with threats of bankrupting the schools with their legal threats. That is what is sad to me.


Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:27 am

" She also suggested creating an "anonymous" posting section on the school district's web site where messages could be posted similar to the "tip line" already in place by telephone."
Yeah, like that wouldn't be subject to more abuses than a pooch sniffing out the kids stash.
I guess no good deed goes unpunished. Mom, I agree with you that there are those in our community (some posting here) that will be contrarians no matter what you do, to the point that they are willing to bankrupt the school district to stnad on some self-proclaimed moral high ground.
Truth is, they are so worried that their kids might get busted for their dangerous habits. It's one thing for their kids to get high under an underpass somewhere, but once they get in their cars and start killing innocent victims, what do you think the cost of your inaction will be?


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:29 am

"Mom",

What is sad to me is when people ignore our laws and constitution and violate our rights. Did you read about the recent unanimous US supreme court ruling on GPS tracking devices being placed on cars? Did you read my story about what happened to a personal friend as the result of a policy like this? He was entirely innocent of ever possessing or using any drugs, but his reputation was damaged. He was an adult. In this case we are talking about children.

What is your take on the fourth amendment, and how it applies here. Do you care about the fourth amendment?

"Instead of being a partner with the administration to come up with a reasonable plan that meets everyone's needs"

It isn't my job to come up with a plan. What are we paying all those high administration salaries for? I'm happy to make my concerns known to them. Their job is to come up with a plan.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:30 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Please hire some drug sniffing dogs to sniff your child and their friends when they come over to your house. It's an awesome tool and we should expand its use.


Posted by Milo Thompson III, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:32 am

Yeah!


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

"Truth is, they are so worried that their kids might get busted for their dangerous habits."

Ridiculous assumption. You have no idea whether I have children or not. Can I also assume that you know nothing of American history, the rule of law, the bill of rights, or the United States constitution? Did you happen to notice that the US supreme court ruling against GPS tracking without a warrant was unanimous? Every judge ruled against it, regardless of his political leanings -- from the far right to the far left.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:37 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I hope that the new written policy includes sniffs of the staff and district parking lots. It's called Fair Share Sniffs.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:40 am

"...some self-proclaimed moral high ground."

The constitution of the United States of America.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:40 am

"I wouldn't be surprised to hear that PUSD will be attaching GPS devices to every car in the parking lot too. "

Probably because the Supreme court already ruled that is illegal, but the case about the dogs is still pending.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:42 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Will the dogs be sniffing the parking lots during school board meetings too? If not, I think they should. We need to keep everyone who attends those meetings safe from drugs.

Hopefully the dogs will sniff for alcohol, oxycontin, and other prescription drugs.

I'm certain this program will be a success, so much so that we should consider expanding drug dog sniffs to other public spaces, like the library parking lot and city hall.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:45 am

"to drum up a law suit BEFORE any search has happened"

Why not? PUSD is getting the dogs BEFORE they have reasonable suspicion.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:45 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Lots of teens hang out at the library! Hey, that's a great idea: drug dog sniffs at all public locations where teens hang out! I'll be hiring drug dogs to sniff the cars of the teens hanging out at the neighborhood parties. And the cars of any parents who come by and drop off a minivan-load full of teens and then leave. Because, like many of you, I too believe that all teens are guilty until proven innocent.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:50 am

To Patriot:

"It isn't my job to come up with a plan. What are we paying all those high administration salaries for? I'm happy to make my concerns known to them. Their job is to come up with a plan"

That is a cop out. At my job... we are challenged to bring solutions not just complaints. I challenge you to meet with Mr. Dwyer and hear his concerns about drugs and discuss your concerns about canine seaches. That is a mature response.

Yes, I read about the GPS case. I think that putting GPS tracking on cars for 30 days is not quite the same as a dog sniffing a public area for drugs.

From my research, it appears that if the searches are conducted properly, personal possessions are only searched if there is a positive sniff. A positive sniff would result in further search, NOT an arrest. An arrest would occur after drugs were found through the search. From what I've read about CA law, (ie., the FHS teacher that was arrested with drugs) a first offense results in a referral to a drug diversion plan... which results in an expunged record after successful completion. Is this the process in CA?

If I remember correctly, I think your friend was in the military..which I believe follows different rules.

I do agree with you that this could be abused and that is concerning. The schools should not have blank slate to do what they want. They need to follow the law. That is why I think it is important to be sure that the searches are performed legally. From what I have read, there are legal ways to do it and then there are people that go to far and do violate rights and that is what the suits are about.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:53 am

"
Board member Jamie Hintzke questioned the accuracy of the dogs' sniffing capabiities"

Good for you, Jamie! Thanks for being the only voice of reason on the board on this issue. Vote your conscience, Jamie, don't let yourself be intimidated by a majority of board members who, imo, are not thinking correctly about this.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:54 am

To Resident:

'PUSD is getting the dogs BEFORE they have reasonable suspicion'

OK... you really have your head in the sand. FACTS: 3 kids arrested at AVHS on drug possession. A teacher at FHS arrested on drug possession. A student at PMS arrested on drug possession.

As any high school student if there are drugs at school.

You really believe there is no reasonable suspicion??? Come on.... I didn't think the debate was whether or not there was a drug issue at the schools. but rather the best way to deal with it.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 8:58 am

"She said some students opposed the plan because they thought the searches will be a breach of their civil liberties, while she and others think the schools would be safer if kids left their drugs at home."

Good to see that some students are concerned for their civil liberties. They are the future and I am glad we have students who can recornize this as a violation of civil rights. It is sad that some students cannot see beyond the real issue: once you start allowing the violation of civil rights, where will it lead? I hope these students who are all for the dogs learn something as they enter college and become adults.


Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:02 am

"PUSD is getting the dogs BEFORE they have reasonable suspicion."
Really? If I'm interpreting your statement correctly, there's no connection to the major increase in drug related offenses at school and this course of action? The increase in drug related suspensions and expusions doesn't constitute reasonable suspicion?
Should we wait until we witness a student run over another student in the parking lot?
I get that you don't like the dogs being used as a tool to help prevent the continuation of the schools growing drug use, but to say there's no reasonable suspicion is naive.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:03 am

"You really believe there is no reasonable suspicion?"

They do not have INDIVIDUAL reasonable suspicion to searh every car they feel like.

Thay may have had reasonable suspicion to arrest the 3 AVHS students, but that's it.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:06 am

"Should we wait until we witness a student run over another student in the parking lot? "

So should we throw you in jail, Steve? To prevent some hypothetical situation where you lose your temper so badly that you shoot everyone you run into? Should we do that? Act before something bad happens?

That is the way it works: you cannot punish the innocent because you have fears.

Right now, there are drugs in the high school, but you cannot target all students because of the actions of a few.


Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:08 am

"She said some students opposed the plan because they thought the searches will be a breach of their civil liberties, while she and others think the schools would be safer if kids left their drugs at home."
OK, now substitute the word 'drugs' for the word 'guns'. Are there not schools in CA that employ metal detectors? If that's legal (it's an invasive as a dog sniffing your car) why not let these trained dogs provide this much needed public service?


Posted by avhsconcerned, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:09 am

Resident- Go back to school and learn the difference between reasonable suspicion and probable cause. It's sad to me that some people, some of whom don't even have kids that attend PUSD schools (Patriot) are more concerned with their own agenda than that of the safety of the students and their right to go to a drug free school!

A canine sniff of property is not a search under the Fourth Amendment. There does not need to be prior reasonable suspicion prior to the canine sniff. A positive alert from a trained Narcotics Detector Dog gives reasonable suspicion to the presence of narcotics. This reaction gives the handler probable cause for a warrant. School officials need reasonable suspicion to search a student or their property. A canine alert is that reasonable suspicion. School officials do not need a warrant to conduct the search.


Posted by Vanessa, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:14 am

So sick of the "civil liberties" card. So, so sick of it. I am very glad the board is voting to allow the searches. If you aren't doing anything wrong, chances are, you or your possessions won't be searched.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:24 am

{removed because it was irrelevant to the thread]


Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:32 am

{removed because it was irrelevant to the thread]


Posted by Result, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:37 am

". I am very glad the board is voting to allow the searches."

My neighbor already talked to the ACLU. Now it is only a matter of waiting until the dogs are used. How can you be glad, Vanessa? They are about to violate civil rights and face a big lawsuit as a result.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:44 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Mom wrote: "A student at PMS arrested on drug possession."
Good point, Mom. We need to expand drug dog sniffs to the middle schools. They don't drive cars, but that's ok. We'll have dogs sniff their parents' cars during drop-off and pick-up and their backpacks when the students aren't around.

Vanessa,
Yea, "civil liberties" are sooooo inconvenient!

Steve,
You're right, the 117 drug related suspensions at Foothill and 122 at AVHS this year is a HUGE INCREASE from the 138 Foothill and 117 AVHS suspensions in 2006! Such large increases demand drug sniffing dogs to solve the problem. Drug sniffing dogs are so effective at preventing teenage drug abuse that we need to expand the program to all public spaces.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:46 am

"A canine sniff of property is not a search under the Fourth Amendment. "

Actually, that is being challenged right now. You are probably relying on the 2005 supreme court ruling, which other courts have used in their rulings. That 2005 ruling though, is being challenged as we speak. PUSD would have been better off waiting until the may-june timeframe when the ruling is expected.

"A positive alert from a trained Narcotics Detector Dog gives reasonable suspicion to the presence of narcotics. This reaction gives the handler probable cause for a warrant. School officials need reasonable suspicion to search a student or their property. A canine alert is that reasonable suspicion. School officials do not need a warrant to conduct the search. "

The ACLU in Montana is challenging that right now. (sniffing of students' vehicles).

Sniffing dogs are not 100% reliable, and we do not have case law in California with respect to canine sniffs in schools because all the lawsuits were stopped when districts decided to end the sniffs instead of going to court. We do have the ruling about the GPS devices, the supreme court already ruled they were unconstitutional (before that ruling, people thought they were okay)



Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:46 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Hah, it would help if I read my own source correctly... 138 drug-related suspensions in 2009... Web Link


Posted by Vic., a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:47 am

It's about time they let the dogs out, A.C.L.U stay out of it, our kids are becoming drugged up and the parents need help from the school to curb this curse.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:55 am

Stacey is a registered user.

{removed because it was irrelevant to the thread]


Posted by Pete , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 10:12 am

{removed because it was irrelevant to the thread]


Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 25, 2012 at 10:13 am

Thanks for the statisics, Stacey. I'm glad to see the problem has been rectified. That was your point, right? Oh, OK, yes, there is still a major drug problem in Pleasanton schools.
Back to the discussion as how to handle it or ignore the problem.....


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2012 at 10:16 am

Stacey is a registered user.

There's nothing stupid about drug abuse. We should be using all available tools, like drug sniffing dogs, to prevent it and root out its sources. Parents need to take on their Fair Share Sniffs. If you are a parent who is doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about. If we can save at least one child from the affliction of drug abuse, it will all be worth it.


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 25, 2012 at 10:23 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

I have a child at Foothill, and I have no problem with the drug-sniffing dogs. If you were really concerned about the safety of your kids (rather than preserving the "rights" of drug users), maybe some of you would actually see the BENEFITS.

And this has nothing to do with GPS tracking or any of those other strawman arguments against this. Kids are using drugs in the school. That ISN'T a guess. That ISN'T a suspicion. It's a fact. The sooner you ACLU-banner waving loons realize that, the better.


Posted by avhs, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 25, 2012 at 10:49 am

I'm still trying to figure out how the supreme court ruling on GPS tracking has anything to do with K9 searches? Anyone??


Posted by Contrarian , a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 25, 2012 at 10:55 am

{removed because it was irrelevant to the thread]


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 11:13 am

"I'm still trying to figure out how the supreme court ruling on GPS tracking has anything to do with K9 searches?"

This editorial may help:

Web Link

"prosecutors argued that investigators didn't need the warrant in the first place because Mr. Jones could not have an expectation of privacy while traveling on public roads. "

"Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia cited the Fourth Amendment, which protects the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." Justice Scalia said the government's installation of the GPS device and its use to monitor the vehicle's movements constituted a "search" and that it would have been considered as such when the Fourth Amendment was adopted."

"in a concurrent opinion, four other justices said that the key legal element in the case was not the government's physical intrusion of Mr. Jones' vehicle, but the unconstitutional violation of his privacy. "

It also has big implications about privacy issues on the web:

"The concurrent opinions make it clear that this likely to be only the first in a series of cases dealing with privacy, the Fourth Amendment and technology in the Internet era. That's why this decision is significant. "


Basically, this decision opens the door for many challenges for different issues, when it comes to privacy, 4th amendment rights, etc.

Up until this decision, they thought it was okay to install a GPS device, arguing that people should not have expectation of privacy when on public roads.

Aren't schools saying students have no expectation of privacy while on school grounds (parking lots)?

The other Supreme Court case currently pending deals with dogs sniffing personal property (a house) and based on what the dogs smelled, searching that property (house) without probable cause/reasonable suspicion other than the sniffing dogs' cues. The Florida Supreme Court already ruled it is a violatioin of 4th amendment rights and challenged the 2005 Supreme Court ruling (sniffing of a car). The case will be decided sometime in June and will have implications about dogs sniffing people's property (house, cars)


Posted by Disappointed, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 25, 2012 at 11:16 am

I'm disappointed this was a 5-0 vote. This doesn't reflect the community division on this issue. I guess we need a brand new school board that represents the people, listens to the community, isn't mesmerized by the supt and blindly votes yes on everything.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 11:19 am

"If you were really concerned about the safety of your kids (rather than preserving the "rights" of drug users), maybe some of you would actually see the BENEFITS."

I'm concerned about the rights of innocent students who could get caught up in this, just as happened to a personal friend of mine. People who have done nothing at all wrong have plenty to fear from a policy like this.

"...That ISN'T a guess. That ISN'T a suspicion. It's a fact..."

There is also drug use in homes all over Pleasanton. This isn't a suspicion either, it is a fact. We could start doing random home searches, and that would likely turn up some drug users. But we are a nation ruled by laws, and unreasonable searches are not allowed by the constitution. Just because some students are using drugs doesn't mean we treat them all with suspicion. That is a fundamental right enumerated in the Bill of Rights.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

"I challenge you to meet with Mr. Dwyer and hear his concerns about drugs and discuss your concerns about canine seaches. "

I'll meet with him and hope that his mind isn't as closed as some of the people on this thread (I'm not saying you). I also hope to attend the meetings if my work schedule permits.


Posted by Contrarian, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 25, 2012 at 11:44 am

[Removed because it was off topic]


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Contrarian,

I'm glad someone clicked on the "Report Objectionable Content" link and the PW removed my post, although I disagree that it was irrelevant. The idea that we should have drug dog sniffs of parents at the Sunshine Saloon as a way to catch lawbreakers (drinking and driving is illegal) IS offensive. Why is it only offensive to catch lawbreakers by treating a whole group of people as suspect/guilty when the group is composed of adults and not teens?


Posted by KGW, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

This is why we elect school board members -- to govern the administration of our schools and ensure our children get a quality eduction. I applaud the action of PUSD. I only wish this had happened a decade ago when our daughters attend AVHS.


Posted by omg, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

If only 1 kid is saved from a lifetime of Drug Addiction or Death - it is all worth it! Don't loose sight of doing what we can to save our kids!


Posted by Disappointed, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I believe the school board and superintendent should lead by example and reveal what prescription medications they take and have taken and all drugs and alcohol they may or may have not taken in the past, including high school and college.

If you can have drug sniffing dogs on school campuses, the school board and superintendent should be willing to be open and drug tested themselves as well as have a full lifestyle and background polygraph administered.

And the results should be made public.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Disappointed,

Agreed. Everyone should welcome the chance to proudly prove that they are innocent on any wrongdoing. Resistance can only indicate guilt.


Posted by Mom O2, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm

This is EXCELLENT news. I also applaud the board on making this important decision to help rid the campus of drugs and get the offenders on the road to recovery so they can lead productive lives.


Posted by family Disease, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm

To all the people that are against the Dogs, WAKE UP.. My family has suffered with this disease for many years. I wish the dogs were on campus when my child was in school. Then maybe our lives wouldn't be turned upside down. This truly is a family disease.....





Posted by concerned citizen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

There is an epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse in our pleasanton schools today. There are so many kids being kicked out of school, dropping out of school, going to rehab programs and dying that I cannot believe that anyone that cared about the safety of children and the environment in which they learn about their futures would not want to help curb this problem. It is a reasonable part of a solution to a very bad problem. Children have the right to learn in a safe environment. The schools are not currently a safe environment for our kids. Most kids will tell you if they are anonymous that there are drugs in the bathrooms, the parking lots the locker rooms and on the persons of many children at school. I think the solution to this problem is many faceted but we need to start somewhere. Safety of our kids is worth so much more than this. Sadly pleasanton has turned into an upper middle class example what goes on in oakland with drugs.


Posted by Disappointed, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 25, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Web Link said regarding the Supreme Court decision yesterday on GPS tracking requiring a search warrant says: "It is important to be clear about what occurred in this case," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote. "The Government physically occupied private property for the purpose of obtaining information. We have no doubt that such a physical intrusion would have been considered a 'search' within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment when it was adopted."

The police depts tried to argue that because the GPS tracked cars driving on public streets soit didn't violate anyone's rights. They failed to convince the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court said even touching the cars underneath the car to attach the GPS device was an illegal 'trespass' and they didn't even open up the car to do that, much less the trunk.

All they did was place something on their car.

So physically occupying cars parked on public school parking lots without probable cause (the result of a simple dog sitting down?) will probably be given the same treatment.


Posted by J, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm

You better hope they can sniff-out Oxycontin because if you think marijuana is the problem, you are truly ignorant and out of touch with reality.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Kids know what's going on and that the schools are allowing drug-sniffing dogs on campus. If this action is taken because the Board thinks it will prevent drug usage...their wrong. Kids will just be carrying whatever drugs around with them. They know that if they don't cause suspicion and draw attention to themselves they can't be searched because the school doesn't have probable cause. In my opinion, this will just make a lot of drug-users and dealers "smarter" in where they hide and use their drugs.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Or the Board thinks it will help them catch more druggies*


Posted by DB, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm

If you are concerned about your kids and drugs, TRY PARENTING rather than shrugging off the responsibility onto the school, which is all too willing to abuse civil rights and increase it's inapropriate police activity and oppressive roles.


Posted by to disappointed, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jan 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Disappointed - you are an idiot and you have no idea what is really going on in our award winning schools. Whatever it takes to keep our kids out of harms way is ok with me. Parents: wake up and stop trying to be so cool and hip. Drugs and alcohol are real problems here and hiding behind something unrelated to this is just irresponsible. Thank you Board for taking action to protect ALL our children. Pretty sad when your kids tell you that the drug deal is going on next to them while they are changing into their PE clothes.


Posted by Disappointed, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm

If your child told you there was a drug deal going on while your kids were changing into their PE clothes at the 'award winning schools (huh)', did you personally call the police and report this incident? Or did you contact the school resource officer on staff? Or did you contact the school board with the name, date and persons involved. If you didn't, that is pretty sad.

If you expect canines and cameras to take the place of actually proactively doing something, you are sorely mistaken.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Note to parents and students alike:

if your child is a target because the sniffing dogs made a false alarm or something, there is an organization that can help for free with the legal aspect.

The only thing is that there needs to be an actual violation of rights, and the student needs to call them for help, or a parent/legal guardian on their behalf:

Legal Services for Children
415-863-3762
Web Link

I called them today to see what they thought about the dog sniffing deal in PUSD. The person I spoke with said it sounded like a violation of civil rights for the minors in our district, but that we needed to wait until a child was made the target of school discipline, arrest, search, sniff, in order for them to step in, for FREE. They would help an individual student, and that student would have to request their involvement, or the student's legal guardian on the student's behalf.

Good to see organizations out there other than the ACLU can help.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 7:05 pm

"Whatever it takes to keep our kids out of harms way is ok with me."

And if a few innocent kid's lives are ruined because of mistakes, is that OK with you too?

What do you think the purpose of the fourth amendment is? When does a search become unreasonable. Why not search the homes where all the children live?


Posted by Marcia, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm

MOM said "OK... you really have your head in the sand. FACTS: 3 kids arrested at AVHS on drug possession. A teacher at FHS arrested on drug possession. A student at PMS arrested on drug possession.

As any high school student if there are drugs at school.

You really believe there is no reasonable suspicion??? Come on.... I didn't think the debate was whether or not there was a drug issue at the schools. but rather the best way to deal with it."

Right on! A voice of reason....for once. There is a problem and all that have the sky falling need to address this. The problem must be solved. The greatest fear is fear itself. Do it and do it right.....now!


Posted by Deb, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm

My kids knew kids at Harvest Park and Hart and later at Amador and Foothill who smoked pot and tried other drugs. Apparently, a pill party is more popular than weed - bring pills, put in a bowl and share. This is much more dangerous. They couldn't believe that parents didn't think there were drugs in the schools.

No, my kids didn't say who and I didn't ask. If these kids would be sent to family counseling, a drug counseling and have regular tests while "under probation" and still attend school - may be. Sending them to juvie - no.

Let's get real - there are cops in the middle schools and high schools for a reason. They are not the kids friends.


Posted by Disappointed , a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 25, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Deb, you should have asked what the kids' names were and reported that you had concerns regarding their health to the Anonymous Tip Line the district has and suggest to the Tip Line that they see a counselor. So you failed in following through with your adult responsibilities. Next time, take action. You did nothing. So tomorrow, ask the kids what their names were, call the Anonymous Tip Line and do something.


Posted by Larry, a resident of Livermore
on Jan 26, 2012 at 8:29 am

The school district is really going down a slippery slope with this dog sniffing program. I assume the liability insurance companies are looking at this and making decisions on how much to raise rates to afford payouts when a student is searched, and nothing is found. If this is the only way to control drugs in schools, we are in a sad state. Guess this is what happens when you take all the authority away from the teachers and all the responsibility away from the students.


Posted by The 4th , a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2012 at 9:23 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2012 at 9:29 am

Stacey is a registered user.

That brings up a good point. The district's written policy on drug dog sniffs should include standards for the dogs that are used to perform the task.


Posted by Disappointed, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 26, 2012 at 10:06 am

It looks like Foothill High has already started rounding up children like criminals and putting them in mass detention on Saturday because of this heinous crime -- drum roll -- being late to class when classes are changing. So when exactly are the children supposed to use the bathroom? They round the kids up, lock them out of class and have "Sweeps" involving detention round ups.

Did this policy come from Joan Laursen or the new superintendent?

Maybe we should just put ankle bracelets on them all.


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 26, 2012 at 10:11 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

I agree that the dogs (and handlers) need rigorous testing and licensing. I also agree that Oxycontin is probably just as prevalent in the schools, likely stolen from pill-popping parents, and NOT detectable by the dogs.

But the dogs ARE trained to sniff out the ILLEGAL drugs, which won't solve the Oxycontin problem, but will take the more dangerous drugs out of circulation. And let's be honest, the cops aren't going after the individual users... they're going after the dealers. By putting pressure on the kids who are BUYERS, they hopefully will expose the SELLERS.

And I have no problem with dogs sniffing the Board, the faculty, and the parents. Too many times, it's the parents that are the suppliers (some with their knowledge, some without).


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 26, 2012 at 10:14 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Geez, "disappointed", how about you teach your kid to show up for class on time? It's not like these "tardy sweeps" weren't announced MONTHS in advance.

What about the 30 other kids that made it to class on time? Should their classes be disrupted by your disrespectful kid? Try acting like a parent, and teach your kid some respect for others.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 26, 2012 at 10:44 am

Thanks, Parent of Two...

Disappointed.... Some of your facts are incorrect. My student told me that the tardy sweeps were put in place because it was identified as a major problem in an accreditation observation, by an by an independent group. (That came from my student... who knows if that is totally correct?) But, as parent of two pointed out.. students were warned and parents were warned ( i received multiple emails about this). If students were caught in the sweep, they had detention the next morning...NOT Saturday. Saturday detention happens after a student is caught in a sweep (late once) and then either skipped the next morning detention or was late to the detention. I find it hard to believe that droves are students are at Saturday detention. If they are, then maybe they need to learn to be on time? There are also droves of students that are not at Saturday detention...and these students are managing to get themselves to class on time.

You are against disciplining for tardies, you are against enforcing rules on drugs. I am curious to know what rules do you think should be enforced at the high school?


Posted by Pete , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 10:54 am

Good article Disappointed... the young writer received the effect she may of wanted. Admitting that school requires 6 hours a day(24 hrs. in day), student attention spans are decreasing, a students time may be more important to social interaction than their own peer groups education, hello... Mom and Dad, your own behavior(over the years) may have set me up for failure-please help me, its not about the money... but the embarressment/disrespect that the district may of shown to bring consultants in to push the responsibility problem to someone else, other than our "OWN" community. Learning to communicate, works at all levels... I know better than most. We are taught to be curious... but not inquisitive. Why? At least dog sniffing is not a government funded mandated requirement... with money then taken away and leaving districts to fund themselves. At least the dogs have respect... even love you more if you pay attention to them. ;-)


Posted by Frank, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 26, 2012 at 10:58 am

Folks are dancing around the real issue. This isn't a matter of whether to advocate a libertarian or disciplinary approach. Rather, it is a matter of asking ourselves what is possessing our kids to take drugs and continue taking them, at great risk to their health, general well being, their futures? I see it as a failure of parents as role models. If kids respect their parents, they'll listen to them. If kids don't respect their parents, they'll not only not listen to them but they'll actually attempt to move their lives/behaviors in entirely different directions. We know what Pleasanton largely consists of: poorly educated, money-grubbing suburbanites, who are scared to death of human diversity. Look at the quality of arguments offered on so many of these posts. Do you actually believe our kids are going to be impressed with and respect their parents' intellects? Keep on money-grubbing, and go ahead, bring in the dogs. It won't help. All our children are poor unfortunate victims of an infected system, embraced by their parents, that only rewards stupidity, selfishness, and greed. The kids see it, in spades. They don't want any part of it.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2012 at 11:34 am

Stacey is a registered user.

See, PW? Oxycodone and parents are not irrelevant to this thread.

Parent of Two,
A past article mentioned that the dogs are indeed trained to find prescription drugs.


Posted by DB, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Frank is 100% correct. Calling out the dogs is a sign of parental failure and will just worsen the situation for those failing parents. This is another example of this failing society's attempt at putting a bandaide on something rather than addressing an issue or owning up to it.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm

to DB and Frank

Maybe if someone is 'caught' by the dogs, it will be that wake up call to a parent needs to seek help for their child?

My child's friend had a similar to him...he got caught with pot, his parents confronted him and he decided it wasn't a smart thing to do. He was a good kid with good parents that made a bad choice at one time. Doesn't everyone make bad decisions, even those of us with good parents?

It's not always so black and white as 'be a better parent'.


Posted by DB, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm

To "Mom": we don't need or want cops with dogs to vet decisions. You want the government involved in everything and considering everyone guilty until proven innocent? America used to be different...


Posted by Mom, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm

to DB

I didn't say anyone was guilty? Bringing in dogs doesn't say anyone is guilty or innocent. It is just a check, just like I get screened everytime I go to the airport.

Hmmm.... I think last time I checked, it IS the job of the police to deal with people who are carrying illegal drugs around public places?

regarding "America used to be different"? really? i think this drug issue has been around along time. I think they have been using drug dogs through many administrations, covering both political parties? Look at the dates in some cases that others have referenced in these boards.

Seriously.... I fly in from another country and the dogs sniff my suitcase for drugs, food, whatever. How is that any different than this? My mother in law was stopped at customs becuase the dog smelled an apple in her suitcase. I got patted down at the screening because of wire in my undergarments. How is this any different?

Please make an intelligent argument instead of throwing around useless cliches.


Posted by DB, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm

to "Mom:"
Seems that you enjoy the idea of living in a police state. For now you have the choice, but as you give up more and more of your civil liberies, you will soon no longer have the choice.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm

When are Pleasanton parents going to get there heads out of the sand and admit that our 3 high schools have a drug and alcohol problem? Now that PUSD wants to finally do something about it you all a complaining. Maybe if you parents would wake up and admit that we have a problem the district and the police dept could get a handle on this issue. I would much rather that a child is caught when they are a minor rather than when they are over 18.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Marie,

OK. The three high schools have a drug and alcohol problem. I disagree with you that increasing the preventative police state is the correct way to address that problem. Now what?


Posted by Lessismore, a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm

It is amazing how many people have a problem with dogs in the school. Dogs are used at many High Schools across the country. Is there anything you people support? Many of you are well educated, but lack any vision. Have any of you read the policy? The dog will be used in the parking lots and the lockers around school buildings. They will not be used to search students. Have any of you seen a police dog in action?

Or are your kids the one's dealing drugs in school?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

There is no policy to read. It hasn't been written yet.


Posted by Deb, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 5:30 pm

To Disappointed - My kids graduated a number of years ago. I would not use any line to the PPD or school. Why? Because police want arrests and not to help. Amador and Foothill's answer is out to the continuation school. I'd feel differently if the consequences were family counseling, drug counseling for the kid and pee tests for the kid as I said earlier. Yes, I did go to parents of two - one believed their son as mine did (I have a real hard time believing dilated eyes on multiple occasions) and the other took action. I bet Disappointed you'd want me to go to you and not the police too for yours (oh, of course, yours are perfect or you don't have any).
Another mom told me that my son could date her daughter (they'd be seeing each other any way) because he did not take drugs although some of his friends did - this was 8th grade. I did ask her how she knew - her daughter.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Those of you in favor of the use of dogs, please read this PW post:

Web Link

Someone posted an article about a school where dogs made false alerts, student lockers were searched and NO DRUGS were found.

"Drug dogs make 'false hits' at Conemaugh Township school lockers"

"Administrators, however, have found no solid evidence of drug use in any of the lockers searched.

To the corporals, that suggested a problem with the handler and dog, not students.

"It goes back to the credibility of the drug dog team," Johnson said."

"Both corporals said false hits should not be happening, and that embarrassing a student can lead to that student learning to distrust police and the school."

And the "brilliant" idea of the superintendent was called unconstitutional:

"Superintendent Joseph DiBartola also asked about checking backpacks.

"We have been entertaining the idea of putting book bags in a hallway," he said.

The corporals said that would be unconstitutional."


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm

It's unfortunate but unsurprising that the PUSD Board has chosen to go down this ill-advised slippery slope of using drug-sniffing dogs, since no one (not the Pleasanton Teachers union representatives nor anti-drug-sniffing dog parents or students) bothered to present their objections to the Board at their last meeting. Silence is consent, as the saying goes.

The drug-sniffing dogs will be used not only in the student parking lots but also in the teacher parking lots, which is why I was surprised that no representative of the Pleasanton teachers union took an official position on these searches.

Let's say for the sake of argument that the Supreme Court has already definitively ruled that these searches are Constitutional (and that is still a matter that has NOT been decided). The drug-sniffing dogs are a bad idea because they are really just "show policing" that doesn't address why teenagers choose to abuse alcohol, narcotics, and prescription medication (hint: these problems start in the home). The drug-sniffing dogs will also create an atmosphere of mistrust and intimidation between adults and teens, which is the opposite of what you want to do when trying to combat any problem involving young people. You cannot solve the drug problem without the cooperation of the students. Period.

But let's return to the reliability of the drug-sniffing dogs. That reliability has been called into serious question on many occasions in many different countries (the UK, Norway, and the United States, just to name three). As the use of drug-sniffing dogs spread, so does the likelihood not only of a court challenge to the constitutionality of the practice, but also the chances of false accusations tarring the reputation of an innocent student or teacher.

I found this story via a quick Google search and it is interesting reading. An excerpt, followed by the link:

False Alerts:
Growing Evidence that Drug-Sniffing Dogs Reflect Police Bias
by Earth Erowid
June 2011

Dogs trained to detect drugs, explosives, and human scents have become standard in police departments around the world. Courts in the United States generally accept law enforcement claims that a detection dog "alert" provides legal justification for bypassing 4th Amendment privacy protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and many other countries have similar rules. A dog alert is considered sufficient evidence to allow police to conduct a search without a warrant, permission, or additional probable cause. In that regard, a dog alert is the equivalent of an officer seeing a dead body or smelling cannabis. Given how much power the reaction of a drug dog and its handler's interpretations can have, it is striking how little research and data has been collected about their abilities and accuracy.

False Positives
A provocative research paper published in January 2011 showed that, rather than being neutral, police detection dogs alert where their handlers think they should. This research is one of only a handful of scientific attempts to test the validity of law enforcement claims of reliable detection.

The study by Lit, Schweitzer, and Oberbauer caused a stir because, in their experiments to test detection dogs and their handlers, the researchers did not use any explosive or drug scents. Instead, they created a course inside a building and placed red paper markers on various objects to fool handlers into believing that marked locations contained scents and "Slim Jim" meat sticks as decoys to fool the dogs. Even with no legitimate targets present in the experiment, 85% of searches resulted in at least one alert by the handler-led detection dog. Only 21 out of the 144 police dog walk-throughs correctly reported no alerts by the dog, while 123 searches resulted in a combined total of 225 false alerts.

Extensive Australian Review

In 2001, a judge in Sydney, Australia ruled in Police v. Darby that the use of drug-sniffing dogs, without other probable cause to suspect an individual, was illegal. In response, the New South Wales (NSW) legislature passed a law allowing the general use of drug detection dogs and created an oversight role for an organization to track and review the use of the dogs. In 2006, the NSW Ombudsman issued an extensive report based on two years of data representing over 10,000 drug dog alerts.3 The review found that illegal drugs were found in only 26% of all searches that were initiated after a handler indicated that a dog alerted on the subject. The report softens the dismal performance by suggesting the false positives could be the result of "residual scents": after being searched and found not to possess any contraband, 60% of dog-alerted suspects "admitted to having had some contact with cannabis or to being at a place where cannabis was smoked."3 This unsubstantiated excuse for their deplorable success rate is offered by police despite their claim that dogs are "not trained to detect the odour of cannabis smoke". Improbably, some of the "residual scent" admissions collected by police were "related to drug use that was weeks, months and sometimes more than a year prior to the indication by the drug detection dog."3 Obviously this sort of remote past contact should not lead a detection dog to alert and establish probable cause for a search for current evidence.

The rest of the article at the link:

Web Link


Posted by Pete , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 7:34 pm

With all due respect Professor Emeritus... good eating habits, respect, financial responsibility, good manners, good hygiene, patience, cleaning, time management and cooking (hint: these problems start in the home). Oh, I get it... because my parents built a business together, with 100 employees, representing 100 families with kids, paid their salaries,benefits, cash bonuses and yearly profit sharing(employees were stockholders) and didn't have personal time for children as needed... our families benefit was narcotics, alcohol and perscription medication. Having a fallguy(parents) I feel much better now.
I'm sure you are a great guy... nothing that a real private sector job wouldn't cure. We are the stockholders of the great enterprise. We pay your salary, benefits and retirement. You should be very grateful that people were willing to risk everything to protect/support practical people like you. Thank you for your contributions to our school district.
I know...I know... it is not my full name and that saddens you.


Posted by Beavis , a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 26, 2012 at 7:53 pm

uhhhhhhh, could you please please tell me exactly when they will be at my uh, huh, huh, huh HIGH school so I could like, leave my weed um, uhhhh, somewhere else?
High school kids smoking pot? Are you serious? Soon they might be having sex, on campus, under the bleachers. Good god where will this all end? Why do young people act so young? It is all so immature.
Dogs are used everywhere like "illegal" weed or "legal" booze itself and who cares if a kid gets busted? (cough, cough, loser scare) Leave your weed at home! If you get caught tough crap and you deserve it for being so dumb. Dogs are legal begals and dope does not belong in schools.
If the dogs are narcotic dogs who actually catch the seriously shitty kids we do not want in our schools, then super bravo folks. Catching weed kids is good for their parents to know about, and legally please allow them their remaining childhood without a reason to not care about their futures that may be ruined for being simply kids.
Drug dogs are good and I am glad they are out there, not to catch kids legally, but to inform parents!


Posted by Pete , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Another thing Daniel Bradford... if you could hand pick 7 individuals... with 3 of those persons necessary to do sweep, would that assist your anxiety associated with this move? Do you know 7 people, whose judgement you would trust to carry out sweep?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 8:26 pm

"That reliability has been called into serious question on many occasions"

Yes, many studies have shown that drug sniffing dogs are not reliable. And now we have a school (see my post above) where they have used the dogs, and they had quite a few false alerts.

Good news is, the Supreme Court is reviewing a case which will have implications as to the legality of drug sniffing dogs in schools. I am confident that the court will rule against the dogs, given how they ruled about the GPS devices. And the ACLU is challenging the dog nonsense across the nation (in Montana they are looking into the sniffing of students' cars)

btw Daniel, parents like myself who oppose the drug sniffing dogs did not show up at the meetings because we know it will fall on deaf ears. Plus we have kids in the district, and the last thing we want is for them to be harassed because the district disagrees with us.

And as for teachers, well, didn't they help elect one of the board members who is the strongest supporter of this dog nonsense? I assume then that teachers are okay with this. My friend's child told us that his/her teacher told the class that students lost their rights at school... what can you expect then from PUSD teachers?


Posted by Frank, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Is it any accident that Pete's list of things he learned at home -- good eating, respect, financial responsibility, good manners, good hygiene, patience, cleaning, time management and cooking -- beginning with good eating and ending with cooking is so conspicuously lacking any virtues beyond being a good worker and consumer? Sense of justice? Nope. Feelings of compassion toward others? Nope. A willingness to share one's good fortune and luck by helping the downtrodden and impoverished? Nope.

Rather, Pete comes across as a good little superficial Republican son of neglectful, money-grubbing parents who weren't around enough to instill deep values into him and were so self-absorbed in the capitalist game of maximizing profit that they wouldn't have known how to instill such values in the first place.

So many of our youth see this and opt to alienate themselves from it. Drugs is the penultimate expression of alienation by minds that are still growing and immature. The smarter ones of course will avoid detection by dogs; the cleverer ones will smear kif oil on everyone's cars in the parking lots. These they believe are more ideal options available to them than to kowtow to the mind-numbing value deficit that typifies Pete and his parents.


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Resident: You don't "know" what would have happened at the school board meeting. You think you know, but unless you're omniscient (or prescient, take your pick), then no, you don't "know".

I sometimes think that matters are a foregone conclusion, and I get weary of fighting the good fight, too. But can't we at least try? You're assuming that the school board members have closed minds. If enough members of the public took the time to voice a considered objection to the proposal to use drug-sniffing dogs in Pleasanton schools, then it might give the Board members cause to reconsider.

As it is, we'll never know, because you didn't bother.

I also take issue with two other statements you made:

" we have kids in the district, and the last thing we want is for them to be harassed because the district disagrees with us."

Faulty logic. If you are seen as publicly dissenting, the district officials would be very careful to NOT be seen as taking any sort of retribution against your children. What's more, in my eight years of experience in the district, I never witnessed nor heard of any sort of retaliatory action taken against the children of complaining parents. Pleasanton administrators might be misguided in some of their policies, but the ones I know mean well and I can't imagine any of them doing anything so hurtful as retaliating against your children just because you disagreed with them.

" as for teachers, well, didn't they help elect one of the board members who is the strongest supporter of this dog nonsense? I assume then that teachers are okay with this."

Did you vote for President Obama? If so, then I assume you are OK with everything he does, even on issues that weren't raised when Mr. Obama ran for the Presidency. You have given him a blank check by electing him to the Presidency.

I have no idea what Pleasanton teachers think on this issue. I imagine some support the Board's stance on this issue and others do not. I simply don't know because, like you, neither the union leadership or one single high school teacher could be bothered to speak at the Board meeting. Or were they afraid of retaliation, too?

That's funny, I spoke up all the time when I worked for PUSD and although some people made it clear they were annoyed with me, I never experienced anything that could be described as "retaliation".

Standing up for what you believe in means taking risks. I never know what's going to happen when I speak my mind. Maybe there will be a price to pay. But I am willing to pay it, because as the saying goes: "Freedom isn't free."

And that's the sermon for today.


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