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Drug Sniffing Dogs at Amador Valley?

Original post made by A Neighbor on Dec 3, 2011

Today I received this message from the PTSA at Amador Valley High School:

"A special PTSA General Meeting will take place on December 15th at 7:00 pm in the Library. The district is exploring the idea of using canines trained to locate drugs on a periodic basis in the school parking lots and would like to get parent input. This would ensure student safety and deter students from bringing drugs on campus."

I have two students at AVHS and I am not sure how I feel about the prospect of drug dogs on campus. Many school districts in California and around the country do contract the services of trained drug dogs either from private parties or their local sheriff/police agency, but all agree that the dogs are only 65-85% accurate.

I am asking that concerned parents do their homework on this controversial topic and attend the meeting.

Comments (61)

Posted by What?, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Given that the employees of the PUSD are the ones being in the newspapers being arrested for drug violations, why not do random drug testing of all PUSD employees instead?

Keep the growling German Shepherds off district school campuses.







Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Dec 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm

The dogs are backed up by trained humans, who should be supervised very closely by school and law enforcement personnel to prevent abuse (Dog Handler Jones or someone else downstream slipping a bone into little Billy's jacket pocket or book bag). In addition, when drugs are found, arrest should not be the result. Rather, said drugs should be confiscated and the incident noted, again, to prevent abuse (little Johnny slipping a bone into little Billy's jacket pocket or book bag).

If little Billy is using or dealing, the truth will out eventually based on cumulative evidence that should be evaluated as a whole rather than relying on a single, possibly mistaken, incident that could ruin the kid's future.

Mike


Posted by Milo Thompson III, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2011 at 11:27 pm

They do not have anything to fear if they do not have drugs. It's as simple as that. If they do have drugs, then they are part of the drug problem. So, do you want to curb the problem or protect the guilty? That's the issue.


Posted by Oh, What, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Dec 4, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Seriously, what? It was one teacher who was born and raised in Pleasanton. Yes she should 100% be fired from this district. Yes it is absolutely ridiculous that one of our teachers was not being a good role model. But for you to generalize and say that "employees" of PUSD are being arrested, just shows your ignorance.

If any of my children were involved in drugs, I would want the school to help me work with my child so that I could take action while I still have control of my adolescent. Bring on the drug sniffing canines. I only hope they end up at Foothill where the real drugs are.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm

"They do not have anything to fear if they do not have drugs. It's as simple as that. "

It isn't as simple as that, and the innocent do have something to fear. There are many ways that a stray marijuana seed or leaf fragment could wind up in a car or on the clothing or belongings of an entirely innocent person. We should presume innocence first. We should investigate whenever there is evidence or legitimate suspicion.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Let's not treat kids like criminals and call it student safety.


Posted by What?, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Stacey, I agree.

Also, many of the arrests of staff are never reported by the local newspapers. Many of the instances of credentials suspended, permanently or public reproval of Pleasanton teachers has happened at the State level so the local newspapers have not covered this. There have been instances where the teacher 'retires' according to the trustee board reports, then the same name of the Pleasanton teacher a few months later has a revocation of the credential at the State level.

Student safety has been compromised mainly by the adults in charge making bad decisions about who is allowed to teach and work on school campuses, not the students themselves.


Posted by To What?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2011 at 10:20 pm

See what, when you give general comments like that and can't get specific I can't believe you. Your "the teachers are evil and out to ruin our district" drama does not convince me.

As for treating kids like criminals, if a student is selling drugs on campus they are a criminal. And we are keeping other students safe by identifying those individuals.


Posted by What?, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 4, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Go to the California teacher credentialing site and look up all of the agendas and minutes from the last few years (can you manage that or is that too hard for you?) to see the Pleasanton teachers whose credentials have been revoked or suspended or have been given public reprovals. You'll find specifics there.

And BTW, you are creating the drama. I never said anything about evil teachers and them ruining anything. The adults making the bad decisions are not the teachers at all, but in fact the administrators and the school board who fail to perform adequate background checks in hiring staff and then fail to take any action when reports of significant staff behavior problems arise or there is excessive and consistent unexplained absenteeism or other very questionable behavior that occurs in the classroom. Rather than take any action or remove these folks from the classroom, they do absolutely nothing.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

If a person has been convicted of a crime, they are a criminal. We'd be keeping other students safe by identifying such individuals. We'd also be treating every student who drives and parks at school as criminals without a conviction or even probable cause. What is wrong in our society that we now treat being young as a crime? There are many adults who take drugs too. What next, dog-sniffing in the parking lot at Safeway? Hey, we'd be keeping the shoppers safe.


Posted by Milo Thompson III, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2011 at 7:36 am

"There are many ways that a stray marijuana seed or leaf fragment could wind up in a car or on the clothing or belongings of an entirely innocent person. We should presume innocence first." by Patriot

Sure! A seed of grass blows from the ghetto kids, the real criminal and lands on the rich white kids door step. The vicious smelling dog detects weed and pounces on the poor rich kid and destroys his future because the wind accidentally blew a seed of grass into his locker, hidden underneath all his books.

Keep believing that your kid is not a criminal and doesn't do drugs. It's better to legalize weed and then no one is a criminal. OR: let the ghetto kids use the same argument. "Officer, a feral wind blew that 10 pounds of weed into my car. Please don't ruin my future. It's the winds fault."

Honestly, when will the duplicity stop?


Posted by Candace, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Dec 5, 2011 at 8:28 am

At Village H.S. in downtown Pleasanton, kids walk around outside with spring water bottles containing vodka. It's not just drugs. Most alcoholics have their first drink averaging between the ages of 12 and 17 years old, and if you don't believe me, go to an Open AA Meeting to hear what they have to say.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 5, 2011 at 8:29 am

MT . . . that sums up your arguments, three times over. Look at your posts; poor equates to ghetto. (I know, it's hyperbole. That's how you cover up for your comments.)

Drugs on campus do cause problems; keeping them off campus, however, will not stop the sale of drugs. I think A Neighbor had it right; parents should attend the meeting if for no other reason than to understand why something like this might be necessary at all.


Posted by Needs Limits, a resident of Foothill High School
on Dec 5, 2011 at 8:57 am

We lived in another district (outside CA) where they did this. When the dogs were brought in, the school would be 'locked down'... and every student had to be in a classroom during the 'sweep'. our school had lockers, so that is what the dogs were sniffing, I believe.

In my opinion, this is a 'necessary' evil. EVERY school everyhwere faces this issue.

My concern is what happens to the the students who are 'identified' during the process. They need to have a parent or other 'guardian' present if they are serached or 'questioned'.


Posted by Parent , a resident of California Reflections
on Dec 5, 2011 at 10:15 am

Students do not, the Court tells us, "shed their constitutional rights when they enter the schoolhouse door."
The sad reality is that they do. School administrators abuse student's rights (and parents rights) in ways that could never happen to adults off a school campus. They do destroy students, for the poor choices and risk taking that adolescents have and will always be guilty of due to unmatured brain development.
This is a way for the administration to go on fishing expeditions in personal vehicles. Everything found would be used to have a students arrested and prosecuted. If they find Advil or over the counter meds it is illegal on a school campus. I keep a multi-tool that contains pliers, screwdriver six other tool including a small penknife in my glove compartment. That is a mandatory felony on a school campus (Columbine law).
Even the innocent should fear this. Parents do not let this happen!


Posted by shannon, a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Dec 5, 2011 at 10:52 am

YES, we should have the drug sniffing dogs on campus. I support this effort. Drugs are a real issue in the middle schools and high schools. This could potentially prevent these kids from bringing the drugs to school. It would also help if they could sniff out the alchohl because many drink it while in class.


Posted by What?, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 5, 2011 at 11:37 am

Shannon, where is Stoneridge Orchards (I've never heard of it)? Does your subdivision have a rampant drug problem with youth so that you say it is a serious problem in the middle schools and high schools?


Posted by Glenn Wohltmann, Pleasanton Weekly reporter
on Dec 5, 2011 at 11:49 am

Glenn Wohltmann is a registered user.

To "What?"

Here are a couple of stories we've done on the drug issue in Pleasanton schools:

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by another mom, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I suggested a drug sniffing dog on campus about 5 years ago to then sup. Puppione - it went on deaf ears. A small inconvenience to keep kids from a lifetime of drug addiction with intervention caught early. Go for it!


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Puppione was never the superintendent. That would have been Casey. Puppione worked as the Director of Pupil Services, I believe.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm

We all walk through metal detectors when we enter airports and courthouses. Why shouldn't we patrol our schools with drug sniffing dogs? I don't want my students in school next to drug users anymore than I want to be flying next to a guy with a bomb in his shoe...


Posted by Other thoughts., a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Dec 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm

My only issue with the "drug sniffing" dogs is the district is already short money. Yes, we have a drug problem, it hasn't changed much in the last 40+ years, and won't change much. There are other issues more serious in our schools (library hours, staffing, class sizes, counsellors, etc.). I'm sorry, but we need to understand that those who want the drugs will find a way to get to them. Underage drinking is probably more of an issue. I just think there are better ways to deal with it, especially since all schools have a "zero tolerance" rule - so any student found with drugs will be charged and suspended.


Posted by Lisa, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm

If there is no drug problem where is there a DARE program?

Just wondering.


Posted by from the trenches, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Dec 5, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I work in the schools and I can tell you that the school employees are not looking for ways to prosecute the innocent. The vast majority of the school employees, both teachers and administrators, care deeply about the students. We welcome any help in protecting them. And yes, they are at the age that they sometimes need to be protected from themselves. Whether we like it or not this town has a drug problem and we need to help these kids. The dogs are just one tool to aid us in this battle. While I realize that this will not solve the problem I believe it's a really good step in the right direction. We all want to keep kids safe.


Posted by A Neighbor, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 6, 2011 at 12:19 am

Thank you, Trenches, for your compassionate, sane words, and to all the others who have posted here. We all want to protect our children from their darker impulses, which are not too different from the impulses many of us also faced when we were their age. My struggle with this issue is closely understood in the community, clearly.

Stacey rightly points out that even teens deserve to be treated as citizens of the republic who have constitutional rights. The Washington Supreme Court ruled in favor of the ACLU's precedent setting arguments in Kuehn v. Renton School District that it is unconstitutional for public schools to search large groups of students without individualized suspicion of each one searched. On the opposite side of that same coin, Jack points out that we have all ceded some liberties, like abiding by heightened airport security measures, for the "greater good" and without much fuss.

But what makes schools different? Why do we agonize over protecting our children when it involves police state actions on a public school campus? Maybe it is unrealistic of me, but I still want to believe that kids in Pleasanton can be nurtured in a supportive educational environment free of paramilitary overtones, including drug sniffing dogs and their handlers.


Posted by student, a resident of Foothill High School
on Dec 6, 2011 at 12:26 am

This would give administrators another opportunity to make kids disposable.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I received the email too, and I immediately thought: violation of constitutional rights. I found this on the web, about a school in Washington that used sniffing dogs, and the ACLU's response to that:

"In Kuehn v. Renton School District (1985), a precedent-setting ACLU case, the Washington Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional for public schools to search large groups of students without individualized suspicion of each person searched."

"In 2006, the Nine Mile Falls School District in eastern Washington recognized that its blanket use of drug-sniffing dogs may have similarly violated the "privacy clause." It abandoned its drug dog program in response to a threatened lawsuit by the ACLU of Washington and the Center for Justice. We hope that other school districts in Washington will acknowledge that drug dog searches are a bad policy and do the same."

Full article:

Web Link


Posted by Why do we have this problem?, a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 6, 2011 at 9:14 pm

I wish instead of worrying about whether or not the drug sniffing dogs are constitutional, we were focusing on the root of the problem which is why are our kids doing so many drugs? Why is drug use in this community greater than in others? Is it that some students have access to too much money? Are they getting any of the drugs (especially prescription) from their parents?

It's time to reflect Pleasanton. Are your actions (i.e. drinking, having Oxycontin in your medicine cabinet) contributing to the drug problem? Are you giving excuses when your child gets drunk or when you find a joint? Or are you having conversations with your children and being a parent to them, instead of their best friend?


Posted by Leah, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 6, 2011 at 9:27 pm

All Pleasanton's children are poor unfortunate victims of value systems beyond their control. The children are a plague upon their parents' ignorance to the grave despair of the parents' empty lives. The parents only value money, use it as sole measure of success, and attempt to sell their kids the same defective, hollow bill of goods that they themselves (parents) have swallowed hook, line and sinker. The kids recognize the vacuousness of their parents' lives, and given the choice -- hop aboard the train to successful emptiness or drop out for a while and do drugs -- opt for the latter.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm

"Why is drug use in this community greater than in others?"

It is not. Communities like Los Gatos, Palo Alto also deal with drug use. Private schools like Bellarmine also deal with drug use. But sniffing dogs are NOT the answer to the problem.


Posted by What?, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm

The thread is about the Pleasanton school district. Drugs are everywhere and have been since the 1960s. What is new about that?

The Pleasanton school district's solution? Institute a possibly unconstitutional strategy (I'm sure their awful and oblivious school attorneys say this if fine like they said the Neal school agreement was fine and their flakey financing schemes were fine and perfectly constitutional and their putting a fake university on campus that sold fake diplomas via international social networking sites was fine) which involves drug sniffing dogs to criminalize the student body of AVHS and even better, guarantee a host of civil individual and class action lawsuits, so that the army of school attorneys having to defend these lawsuits grows exponentially and our tax dollars are diverted from educating children to again paying PUSD's legal bills.


Posted by Sue, a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 7, 2011 at 8:31 am

Amador Valley High School is NOT the only High School going to use Canines. Foothill is going to as well. Once again Foothill flys under the radar. Face Facts people, some kids do drugs, and if using canines finds those drugs and makes the students AND their parents come to a REALITY then lets do it. Lets SAVE their lives NOW.


Posted by Beth, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Dec 7, 2011 at 9:00 am

@"What?" PUSD is "The district is exploring the idea of using canines trained to locate drugs on a periodic basis in the school parking lots and would like to get parent input. This would ensure student safety and deter students from bringing drugs on campus."

They haven't said they are doing it. They are asking for our (parent) input. So every needs to show up on the 15th and give their input. In light of the ACLU suit, I believe that PUSD could (and would) find themselves in the same situation. The LAST thing PUSD can afford is a Civil Rights lawsuit. We all need to get in touch with the 3 board members who don't listen to the voters/parents (If you follow the board meetings and what questions they ask you know who I'm talking about) and make them realize the waste in bringing in drug sniffing dogs.

@"A Neighbor" - not all of us gave up our civil liberties for the "greater good". I have not flown since they brought in the scanners and refuse too - thank God I don't have to fly out of the country like others (my husband) for a job.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2011 at 10:33 am

"So every needs to show up on the 15th and give their input"

What for? It is a waste of energy. The district and board will do what they want regardless of input from parents.

I will, however, initiate conversations with the ACLU in California if the sniffing dogs make it anywhere near our schools. This is simply a violation of constitutional rights. What is next? Pat down random students to search for weapons? X-ray machines as in the airports? NO, we should not allow this nonsense to get started.

Like the article posted above says, dogs are not reliable:

"Several studies have indicated that drug dogs are prone to false alerts, which then lead to unjustified searches. Records of drug-sniffing dogs in one Washington school district indicated that dogs were incorrect 85 percent of the times they alerted to a substance. A Chicago study of drug dogs used for roadside automobile searches shows a 56 percent error rate—increasing to 73 percent for Hispanic drivers. Even the most generous estimates suggest that drug dogs are reliable, at most, 70 percent of the time (and this figure takes into account the 26% of searches where no substances are actually found but the targeted person admits to prior drug contact)."

As for the drug problem, find another solution and definitely come hard on those using drugs/selling drugs at school, including staff and teachers (remember the recent Foothill teacher article?). But do NOT assume every student is a drug user/seller and do not dare violate their civil rights. Unless a school has probable cause (more than an unreliable sniffing dog) to search a student, doing so is a violation of their constitutional rights.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Using drug sniffing dogs, combined with "zero-tolerance" policies is a prescription for prosecution of the innocent. It also sends the wrong message to our children. Kids who have never bought, sold, taken, or used drugs in any way could easily wind up expelled from school were this program to be put in place. Think this one through. The unintended consequences of this far outweigh any benefits. We live in the United States of America.

Count me in with the people who will do whatever it takes to bring legal action against PUSD should they resort to using dogs in this way. I completely agree with what "Resident" said above.


Posted by What?, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Once again, PUSD embarks on yet another possible illegal path without getting an official written legal opinion from the Attorney General on whether it is legal or not by posing the question: "May a school district adopt a policy of having controlled substance sniffing dogs patrol and search the study body in parking lots?"

You would think that after the post-"expel 'em all" Casey fiasco and AG fallout in the Central Valley and the resulting AG opinion below that they would have learned.

Web Link


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Do our high schools have resource officers (on duty police officers)? They can make a difference once they are established with the kids. They also have access to what occurs off campus. Sadly, it's expensive even if the city and district share the costs.


Posted by Amador Teacher, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Dec 8, 2011 at 9:39 pm

You would not believe the amount of drug use and selling that is taking place on the AVHS campus, in the parking lot,and in the cars in the parking lot. When kids know they will be caught, the behavior will stop on campus.....it is human nature. Bring on the canines....it is in the best interest of all students that we truly have a drug free school campus. And, as we know there are teacher users as well, and this will curb their behavior as well.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 7:29 am

"You would not believe the amount of drug use and selling that is taking place on the AVHS campus, in the parking lot,and in the cars in the parking lot. When kids know they will be caught, the behavior will stop on campus.....it is human nature. Bring on the canines....it is in the best interest of all students that we truly have a drug free school campus. And, as we know there are teacher users as well, and this will curb their behavior as well. "

Not surprising to hear this from a teacher. I heard that an AVHS teacher told students that they lose their rights at school - what a bunch of nonsense.

Bring the canines? Go ahead, but be prepared to deal with lawsuits and the ACLU.

There are other ways to deal with drug use, but violating students' constitutional rights is NOT the answer.

How would you feel if we were to install cameras in your classroom and anywhere teachers interact with students, in order to monitor the amount of teaching, what you tell students, and catch potential abuse? Perhaps every teacher should be a suspect, his/her classroom searched for drugs and monitored for potential abuse, his/her whereabouts on campus monitored at all times. That would never be allowed by your union, right? Well, canines are not going to be allowed by some parents.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 7:55 am

Perhaps it is time for a school district like Pleasanton to bring the dogs and be the one whose case gets taken all the way to the Supreme court, since there is uncertainty (we have a 9th circuit court in California btw, where such sniffing was considered "search" - see below- and for a search you need probable cause and a warrant):

"The Supreme Court has not expressly ruled on whether suspicionless canine sniffs violate a public school student's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches.6 In fact, as this article
discusses, the Supreme Court has acted in a manner that actually increases uncertainty around the issue. This uncertainty makes employing suspicionless canine sniffs difficult for public schools.
This article attempts to assist public school officials"

"Federal courts have provided conflicting signals about
whether a public school official must comply with the Fourth
Amendment when implementing a suspicionless canine
sniffing program. The Seventh Circuit holds that canine sniffs
that are ordered by public school entities and that are
performed on public school students are not searches under the
Fourth Amendment.96 In contrast, the Fifth and Ninth Circuits
currently hold that such canine sniffs are searches.97
Consequently, the Fourth Amendment does not apply to
suspicionless canine sniff programs performed within the
Seventh Circuit, but it would govern such programs within the
Fifth and Ninth Circuits. The Seventh and Fifth Circuit cases
were submitted to the Supreme Court for review, however it
refused to review either.98"

"In contrast to the Seventh Circuit, the Fifth and Ninth
Circuits have both held that suspicionless canine sniffs are
searches in Horton v. Goose Creek Independent School
District128 and B.C. v. Plumas Unified School District
respectively.129"

"In sum, implementing a suspicionless canine sniff
program is a major and far-reaching decision for any school.
As such, it should only be made after careful, in-depth
contemplation of the school's drug problem and the impact the
program will have on its student body"

Web Link


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 9, 2011 at 9:22 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Bring on the dogs. Drug sniffing dogs are a successful and proven deterrent to drug use. Let them sniff for drugs at school student and teacher parking lots, the grocery store parking lots, the Jack in the Box parking lot, the City Hall parking lot, Downtown Main St., the Library parking lot, and don't forget the Firehouse Arts Center parking lot because you KNOW those art types. And let's lock down the people inside the buildings as the dogs do their work. They give their consent to have their private property searched by entering the public space. The drug sniffing dogs will make students feel safer like random strip searches of 85 year old women makes flyers feel safer.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 10:45 am

Resident said "How would you feel if we were to install cameras in your classroom and anywhere teachers interact with students, in order to monitor the amount of teaching, what you tell students, and catch potential abuse?"

What are they doing at Amador Valley High? Are they already are monitoring the whereabouts of union members and students with cameras? Go to the Yahoo search engine, click Videos, type in Amador Valley High and press search, then click the Filter on the left side of the screen where it says Duration and click Long > 20 minutes.


Posted by Parent of 3, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 11:27 am

The meeting on the 15th will not be a true measure of parent opinion; parents will not be able to oppose this publicly. I will join any legal action against this extreme violation of of student's rights.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Stacey:

You posted some sarcasm above, but how do you really feel about this dog sniffing?

Given that the 9th circuit court has ruled that dog sniffing (of a student at school) is considered a search, it would then be a violation of a student's fourth amendment right to perform such a search without probable cause/warrant.

Why would PUSD look for more legal bills? Which law firm is advising PUSD these days? (because they are not getting good advice at all)


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Resident,

See my sarcasm-free first and second posts above.


Posted by Priorities , a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I am guessing the drug problem is well out of hand
at this point to resort to this. To be honest I know
the prescription drug problem is rampant at
all three high schools. Wake up parents, this is not something
the administration is considering because they are bored -
I saw a police stat that 42% of HS kids in Pleasanton
abuse prescription drugs - which is why this
new approach is even being considered. I would
be more more worried about your kids lives than ther
privacy rights at this point.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 7:46 pm

"See my sarcasm-free first and second posts above."

I agree with your comments, Stacey. PUSD is getting ready to treat all students as criminals, to search them without probable cause, and that is not right.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 8:16 pm

"I would be more more worried about your kids lives than ther privacy rights at this point."

Let parents worry about their kids. The school's job is to teach, period. If some students do something illegal at school, by all means make them suffer the consequences, but if they are not doing anything wrong, do not treat them like criminals.

Once we start allowing an entity to violate other people's rights, it can lead to an ugly path.

I am glad the 9th circuit court has already ruled that sniffing a student at school is considered a search. As you know, in order for a search to be legal, there must be probable cause/warrant. With this ruling already in place, it will be very easy for the ACLU to make a case against any school district that tries to use the sniffing dogs.


Posted by getitstraight, a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on Dec 9, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Having three kids in the school district I find it hard to believe parents do not want what is best for their children. I did a little research on my own and I am shocked at the misinformation that is being spewed on this forum posting. People do your own research before you come to conclusions. This is what I found...

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

2.) There does not need to be prior reasonable suspicion prior to the canine sniff.

3.) 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.

4.) School officials need reasonable suspicion to search a student or their property. A canine alert is that reasonable suspicion.

5.) School officials do not need a warrant to conduct the search.
Courts are divided about the reasonableness of canine student searches, however two out of three state that a canine sniff of a person is a search. A canine sniff of a student requires reasonable suspicion. Only a "passive alert" dog should be used. (Note: The majority of law enforcement agencies do not use K9's to sniff/search people for narcotic detection in any circumstance.)

A) New Jersey v T.L.O. (469 U.S. 325 (1985) U. S. Supreme Court.
Even though this is not a canine case, the United States Supreme Court held that: 1. School searches fall under the Fourth Amendment's reasonableness standard. 2. School officials do not need a warrant to search a student or their property. 3. School officials do not need probable cause to search; the legality of a search of a student should depend simply on the reasonableness, under all the circumstances of the search (reasonable suspicion).

Based on what I have read, the only thing that would make a canine search on campuses illegal would be using the canine to search the students themsevles. Has PUSD said they would do that?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 10, 2011 at 10:24 am

Stacey is a registered user.

getistraight,

I think you've done good to try to read up on the issue independently, but what you've listed is contradictory, especially numbers 2 and 4. You should also try to research the difference between canine sniffs of school lockers, which are school property, and cars, which are personal property.

I too tried to do some reading on the issue. I found a report that the lockdowns during canine sniffs became routine to the students so that when the school in question had a real emergency reason to lockdown, students mostly ignored it.

Moreover, as you note the courts are divided. This is a controversial issue. We should be thinking about what we want our society to be. I, for one, believe that children do not do well when treated like criminals. Schools are supposed to be nurturing environments. Would you hire a canine to sniff your child's car in your driveway and keep your child locked in their room during the search?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 10, 2011 at 10:30 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Or hire a canine to sniff your child's friends cars in your driveway?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2011 at 11:43 am

"Based on what I have read, the only thing that would make a canine search on campuses illegal would be using the canine to search the students themsevles."

Not really. The Supreme Court has not made any decision on whether a canine search is illegal or not. The Federal Courts have made such decisions, with the 9th (California falls under the regulation of this court) and 5th circuit courts saying a canine sniff IS a search (the sniff itself is considered a search, it does not mean the dogs would "search the students themselves" as you suggest)

1) " the Supreme Court thus far has failed to resolve a Circuit split on the question of whether a public school can employ a suspicionless canine sniffing program in a similar manner."

2) "the Seventh Circuit has held that canine sniffs ordered by public school entities are not a search under the Fourth Amendment"

3) "the Fifth and Ninth Circuits have held that such canine sniffs are a search."

4) "the Fourth Amendment does not apply to suspicionless canine sniff
programs performed within the Seventh Circuit, but it would regulate such programs within the Fifth and Ninth Circuits."

Luckily, California is under the regulation of the 9th Circuit Court, which has ruled that canine sniffs ARE considered a search and therefore the Fourth amendment applies to them. Circuit court map: Web Link

You mentioned the TLO Supreme Court decision. Read again the entire thing, and on page 180 you will find that:

"Under this decision, a public school student could not be subjected to a suspicionless canine sniff."

"T.L.O., as noted above, required a degree of individualized suspicion for a search of a public school student to be reasonable under the Fourth Amendment"

As you correctly stated, "the legality of a search of a student should depend simply on the reasonableness, under all the circumstances of the search (reasonable suspicion)."

So in order to search a particular student, there must be probable cause, and again, a canine sniff itself is considered a search.

Until the Supreme Court rules one way or the other on canine sniffs at school, California school districts will be under the ruling of the lower federal courts, and the 9th circuit court defines the canine sniff as a search and therefore you must have probable cause to search (dog sniff) individual students.

Other states like Washington (also in the 9th circuit), have already ruled the dog sniffs to be illegal:

"In Kuehn v. Renton School District (1985), a precedent-setting ACLU case, the Washington Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional for public schools to search large groups of students without individualized suspicion of each person searched" Source:

Web Link



Posted by getitstraight, a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on Dec 10, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Resident,
What you are saying makes sense but in Kuehn v Renton it states "it is unconstituional for public school to search large groups of STUDENTS without individualized suspicion of each person searched." As I read it that would mean the canine searching the STUDENT not school property or vehicles parked on school property?

Stacey-
"Or hire a canine to sniff your child's friends cars in your driveway?"
I am looking at this as a safety measure for my children while they are at school! I wouldn't need to hire a canine to sniff my child's friends car in my driveway because I am the PARENT, I have control over my child's friends when they are on my property!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 10, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

getitstraight,

So question for you then. How do random dog sniffs of student vehicles make students more safe while they are at school?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I'm sure you read this: Web Link

"While the searches were being conducted, school administrators announced that the school was on a "level one lockdown," and that all students were to sit quietly at their desks. Repeated calls for lockdowns have desensitized the students, who no longer take the notices seriously. This was especially dangerous in December 2004, when a student entered the foyer of Lakeside High School with a gun and shot himself to death. Many students at the time ignored the announcement of a school lockdown, since it had been misused for random classroom searches, the ACLU said."

Considering that student safety would be the concern, couldn't it be argued that students becoming desensitized to random lockdowns for dog sniffs makes students LESS safe at school?


Posted by Parent of 4, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2011 at 5:28 pm

When students apply for a parking permit they sign a form that waives all constitutional rights. Students and parents also waive their rights when they sign the discipline policy at the beginning of the year. You do not have to sign those forms. They will tell you that you can not register your child without them but it is not true. Pay the parking fee but do not waiver your students rights.


Posted by getitstraight, a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on Dec 11, 2011 at 6:25 am

Stacey-
Probably because I'm guessing the students keep their drugs in their vehicles?? Wow what a concept!! Trying to keep a school drug free does it make safer for the kids.


Posted by Parent , a resident of California Reflections
on Dec 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

There are many extremes that someone could argue would make the world safer. Other contries have used that logic to control and restrict people. Fortunately our system works for balance and that should include for our kids.
The Court tells us students do not, "shed their constitutional rights when they enter the schoolhouse door."
Parents Do Not let this happen!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 12, 2011 at 11:46 am

"Resident,

What you are saying makes sense but in Kuehn v Renton it states "it is unconstituional for public school to search large groups of STUDENTS without individualized suspicion of each person searched." As I read it that would mean the canine searching the STUDENT not school property or vehicles parked on school property? "

I am not sure about that one. I did some research, and there are various cases where there have been dog sniffing of cars, and in some, the courts have found the searches to be OK, and in some, the courts have found the searches to be in violation of the 4th amendment. I did not find any cases of sniffing dogs of students' cars in school parking lots.

But think about it: suppose a sniffing dog smells something on a car belonging to student A - what then? Is the principal going to either break into the car or summon the student to open it in order to be searched? With lockers, the schools have keys to open them, but I am not sure if it is okay to break into someone's car just because an unreliable sniffing dog smelled something.

I think it can be successfully argued in court that a student's rights were violated, especially if the dog smelled something and no drugs were found after either forcing the student to open the car or breaking into it.

It would be a question for the courts to answer, but given how the 9th circuit court has ruled so far, I would expect that it would side with the student.


Posted by Truth, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm

People..thebdrugs are already there so why not find them before little Jonny Jumpup can get high? As far as probable cause...it's private property and no probable cause is needed to search the school lockers....I'm all for dogs finding the drugs...if the little twirps are stupid enough to bring them to school then they should be punished.


Posted by Parent , a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Can anyone report on the meeting?


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