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Drug Sniffing Dogs - It can be done!

Original post made by Sniffing Uproar on Jan 12, 2012

I found a very interesting article from 2007 about a district in California (PUSD - but not our PUSD) and drug sniffing dogs.

Web Link

It is interesting to note the points they make in this article about what is deemed legal or illegal and what the courts think about it.

I know for a fact that district officials currently will separate a student from their belongings and search the belongings if they have reasonable suspicions or knowledge that the student is carrying something illegal.

Sounds like PUSD should be able to hammer out a policy that won't lead to civil rights violations if done correctly.

Comments (31)

Posted by Pete , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Considering that Gov. Brown thought it was a bad idea in the article... thank you for the update. ;-)


Posted by Pete , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Amazon has a special on books by, Dr. Spock. Dropshipping copies to district management...wimba pronto.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm

In the article posted by Sniffing Uproar, many things are said and among them they say that it is "legal to separate students from their belongings," to search backpacks, etc.

Here is another article that says the opposite: a 2009 lawsuit brought against a California school district for doing just that (separating students from their belongings in order to search for drugs) :

Web Link

What Sniffing Uproar fails to see is that the issue has not been resolved by the courts. We do have the ruling of the 9th circuit court where they define sniffing as a search and therefore, a student and his/her personal belongings (like backpacks) cannot be searched without INDIVIDUAL REASONABLE SUSPICION.

-------------------------------------------

The article from Sniffing Uproar also says that Brown thought dog sniffing was a bad idea, and he is now the governor. Hmmm....

-------------------------------------------


And here is an article from the ACLU in Washington (also in the 9th circuit court):

"March 30, 2006

The Nine Mile Falls School District has decided to stop searching its
junior high and high school students with drug-sniffing dogs. The
decision avoided a planned lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties
Union of Washington (ACLU) and the Center for Justice (CFJ).

Many parents and students were upset when the District began bringing
trained dogs on school grounds to sniff students' belongings for
contraband, without any suspicion of wrongdoing on the part of
individual students. ACLU and CFJ were poised to file a lawsuit on
behalf of a student and parent. In a March 27 letter, the school
district stated it will place a moratorium on future drug dog
searches until a state or federal court determines their lawfulness."

"Suspicionless searches violate the “privacy clause" of the
Washington Constitution (Article I, Section 7), which provides that
“No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home
invaded, without authority of law." In Kuehn v. Renton School
District, an ACLU case, the Washington Supreme Court in 1985 ruled
that it is unconstitutional for public schools to search a student
without individualized suspicion that he or she is breaking a law or
school rule. In that case, officials at Hazen High School in Renton
had sought to search a student's luggage prior to a school band trip."

Read all the information:

Web Link


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2012 at 5:15 pm

And here is from the ACLU in Montana (sniffing dogs), in 2011:

"The ACLU of Montana is seeking information about sweeping warrantless searches of Glasgow High School students' vehicles by a drug-sniffing dog which may have violated those students' privacy rights."

Web Link


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm

And the ACLU of Northern California got involved as well, back in 1997, due to sniffing dogs:

"ACLU Files Suit Against Galt High School Charging Use of Drug-Sniffing Dogs and Unreasonable Searches and Seizures Violate Students' and Teachers' Rights"

Web Link

Looks like the ACLU has been, and continues to be, active against sniffing dogs in various states, including California.


The case never made it to the CA Supreme court since the district chose to drop the sniffing dogs after the ACLU filed the lawsuit


Posted by um?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I posted every courts decision previously.

It is legal to sepparate a student from their belongings and have dogs sniff.

REASONABLE SUSPICION is all it takes. Also, School Officials have a lower bar than Police, AFTER reasonable suspicion.

There is not enough case law to establish a worthwhile law suit.

One needs to start in Superior Court and if unsuccessful, appeal to a higher court. Alameda County Judges would be tough
and only a handfull of cases end up in appeals court let alone supreme court.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm

To "um?",

Regardless of the outcome, it will be expensive for PUSD.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2012 at 7:41 am

"It is legal to sepparate a student from their belongings and have dogs sniff."

Not according to the 9th circuit court. And a school district in California who did that (separate students from their belongings) got in trouble in 2009 - you can read about it from the "Legal Clips, a service of the National School Boards Association's Office of General Counsel and the NSBA Council of School Attorneys (COSA)," here is what they published about a California school district in 2009:

"California school district drafts revisions to its search and seizure policies under threat of lawsuit

According to the La Canada Valley Sun, La Canada Unified School District (LCUSD) is revising its policies after the constitutionality of the school district's search and seizure practices were questioned by a parent who is a career federal public defender. LCUSD's officials [in 2009] conducted an unannounced search of students' personal items, such as backpacks, using drug-sniffing dogs at La Canada High School. After the dogs were brought on-campus, students were told to leave their backpacks and other belongings behind in the classroom. They were taken to another location on campus while the dogs sniffed the area and the students' personal items."

"LCUSD's assistant superintendent of human resources, Wendy Sinnette, acknowledged that the practices weren't legal and that was one of the reasons for making the revisions. "

Web Link

-----------------

"REASONABLE SUSPICION is all it takes"

But it must be INDIVIDUAL reasonable suspicion, and said suspicion cannot come from an unreliable sniffing dog who might have smelled something. The ACLU is challenging something like that in Montana (began its legal efforts in 2011) where dogs were used to sniff students' vehicles.

Web Link

The ACLU has bigger pockets than PUSD. Do you really want to see PUSD spend money it does not have fighting an organization like the ACLU?


Posted by other, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 13, 2012 at 8:43 am

to resident

You are so convinced that you are right. I'm so tired of your threats to the school district. Why do you think that Pleasanton kids are so special that they are above the law. Drig sniffing dogs are used in schools, airports and traffic stops all the time...legally. All they are doing is sniffing the cars and lockers..NOT STUDENTS...which is what is illegal.

I hope that you will wait until the searches happen before you start all your legal action.

If you are so sure that you are correct... Why don't YOU guarantee to pay the PUSD dollars that are wasted in a suit that you bring when the disttict wins?

WHY do YOU WANT to take away money from our students to be wasted on legal fess when what they are doing is legal.

Do you even have a student in the district? I'm thinking you don't... you are just some nut job that works for the ACLU and has nothing else to do but stir up trouble.


Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 13, 2012 at 8:45 am

Ah, yes the ACLU looking out for all of us (liberal looneys) and the 9th circus court, the most overturned court in the nation.

While it's been mentioned here several times that it will be expensive to administer and defend this plan, has anyone considered the cost of doing nothing and maintaining the status quo?

How much will a lawsuit cost against the school district when a kid overdoses on school property? Or purchases drugs on campus and then wrecks their car driving away from campus and kills some innocent victim. Your 'right to party' at school ends when it impacts someone else.......


Posted by Vanessa, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

Thank you "other" and "Steve" for bringing some common sense into this debate. Drug sniffing dogs are used all the time!!!!! I do not get the big uproar about this, AT ALL. If you or your kid are not using drugs then you have nothing to be worried about. My lord...


Posted by It's Time, a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 13, 2012 at 9:48 am

Before going to sleep last night, my son, a PMS student said to me, "Oh mom, I forgot to tell you, Mrs. X told us today that 4 boys were arrested yesterday for having drugs at school". Last year a 12 year old boy at PMS was arrested for having Oxycontin in the front pocket of his jeans. Bring on the dogs. Board members you have my full support.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 13, 2012 at 9:53 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Vanessa keeps repeating the feel-good mantra that the innocent have nothing to worry about. I'd like if Vanessa could offer some solutions to the examples plenty of people here have already given where the innocent were caught with something to worry about. The example of the multi-use tool in the one kid's glove compartment comes to mind.


Posted by It's Time, a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:03 am

Oh my dear Stacey, haven't you given even a moment of thought to the fact that there just might be more to the "multi-use tool" story? You seem like an educated women. Now, wake up.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:30 am

other:

Do not be so sure that PUSD would win. Again, the ACLU has bigger pockets and is active in other states already, against the dog sniffing.

In the article posted by Sniffing Uproar, our now Governor Brown, the same one who as attorney general successfully sued Pleasanton because of the housing cap, thinks the dogs are a bad idea. And the ACLU doesn't give up that easily when it comes to civil rights.

Keep encouraging the district to do something dumb,and the legal battle will be there, at a great cost to the district.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:42 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Of course there can be more to the story, just like there can be more to the story when one says, "the innocent have nothing to worry about." When someone says this kind of thing, it just screams, "the innocent have everything to worry about." It's an acknowledgement that the proposal is indeed invasive and someone just wants to rationalize it as something the innocent need not worry about to feel more comfortable with the idea; as if that will actually protect the innocent who don't really have drugs in their car or didn't put the drugs in/on their car (i.e., Sativex spray prank on someone) from the invasiveness and unintended consequences of the process.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:42 am

At least there is one board member who may be against the dog sniffing, if her husband's position is any indication of where she stands on this issue:

Web Link

Kevin Johnson should ask for more legal advice, other than the district's attorney - the district has shown poor judgment already when it comes to the law, remember the Neal property trouble? Legal fees and more legal fees, all because of incompetent attorneys working for PUSD


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:43 am

Stacey is a registered user.

We have protections of the innocent in place already. They are called our rights. Why anyone would want to strip our kids of their protections is beyond me.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:45 am

read about the Neal property legal issues and the money spent by PUSD:

Web Link


Posted by It's Time, a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

Stacey:

If "striping our kids of their rights", which I do not at all agree with in this case, would save just one child/family from the complete and total devastation of addiction, then I say YES, strip them of their rights. Again, board members you have my support. Bring on the dogs.


Posted by other, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm

resident still hasn't answered the question if they are the parent of a student in the district.

I still believe that Resident is a member of the ACLU here trying to stir up trouble.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

other:

Yes, I have children in the district, and I live here as well. As a parent who has always donated money to PTAs, PPIE and supported parcel taxes, I am opposed to having PUSD do something that will indeed result in lawsuits that can be costly. Is there a drug problem? Yes. Do I want to deal with it? Yes. But violating students' rights is not the answer. Using unreliable sniffing dogs is not the answer. The anonymous tip that resulted in the arrest of a few Amador students was efficient, and I am all for establishing an anonymous hotline for students to report drug activity on campus.

No, I do not work for the ACLU but know someone who does. I feel stronly against any measure that will result in the violation of civil rights, and you should think about the ugly path this can lead to.


Posted by Just In, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2012 at 5:07 pm


Detection dog home search case up at the Supreme Court

Government Security News - Jan 10, 2012

The US Supreme Court's decision to review a detection dog's search of a Florida home will have implications for other contraband detection work and investigative techniques that use dogs, said a privacy group on Jan. 10. The US Supreme Court on Jan.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm

" If you or your kid are not using drugs then you have nothing to be worried about. "

I've said over and over that the innocent do have something to worry about. I've seen it personally when a policy like this was put in place by the US Navy. Someone I knew and worked with for many years had his car identified and searched. The MP found several seeds in his car. They impounded his car for a week, detained him, scraped off his sticker and confiscated his personal property. He kept insisting that the seeds were bird seed, that he'd been to a wedding and that they'd passed out packages of bird seed to throw on the newlyweds.

A week later, the test results came back and the seeds were indeed bird seed. I'd known the guy for years and knew that he was a straight arrow. He didn't even drink and certainly didn't use drugs, yet his reputation was permanently damaged.

My friend was an adult. Can you imagine being I high school student and going through this ordeal?

Steve, I'm surprised at you. The forth amendment is in the bill of rights for a reason.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm

"Steve, I'm surprised at you. The forth amendment is in the bill of rights for a reason."

LOL! Steve hasn't surprised or disappointed me yet. He's still batting 1000. I can predict which side of an issue he will be on with 100% accuracy.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm

It will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court decides. The Florida Supreme Court is basically saying that a prior Supreme Court decision (Caballes) did not apply, so they are going to the Supreme Court again:

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 6 decided it would review Florida v. Jardines, that addresses whether a dog sniff at the front door of a home is a search that requires probable cause"

"The case follows another involving a traffic stop and a canine search of a vehicle, Illinois v. Caballes, in 2005. The Supreme Court held in that case that a dog sniff around a car during a routine traffic stop was not a search."

"However, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Caballes was inapplicable in the Florida v. Jardines case. In Florida v. Jardines, a drug detection dog sniffed the outside door of a suspected marijuana grow house, which lead to the house being searched."

"The Florida Supreme Court said the dog's outside odor detection was "a substantial government intrusion into the sanctity of the home and constitutes a 'search' within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment." "

"The U.S. Supreme Court could hear oral arguments on the case in April, with a decision possible by the end of June."

Source:

Web Link

So Florida, Utah, Montana, Washington.... all arguing that canine sniffs are a violation of the 4th amendment.

In Montana, btw, the case is about sniffing students' cars in the school's parking lot, and it is recent (2011)

We will see what the outcome is. And regardless of the outcome, one can always argue the precedent does not apply, as Florida just did with Caballes, if the situation is not quite the same.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Door-to-door dog sniffs... Interesting! Let's get the dogs over to the grocery store, library, etc., parking lots too. If you are innocent you have nothing to worry about. We need to protect ourselves from being around people in public places who are high or trying to sell.


Posted by 420, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Youre right Stacey- kids should be allowed to have their drugs at school if they want- its their right and we have no right to question that. We need to protect those who are breaking the law. The schools need to add that to their list of things to do.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I'm absolutely wrong and you're right. As you say, it is our right to keep everyone on campus safe from those who are breaking the law. We need TSA pat downs of all students as prerequisite for entering school grounds. The innocent have nothing to worry about. It's just a little touching and I'm sure the kids won't mind if they have nothing to hide. It is worth it to keep at least one child free from the ravages of drug addiction.


Posted by other, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 13, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Resident
I just can't understand your positions. You donate money to the schools and you are a proponent of the schools yet you constantly threaten action as soon as dogs are brought on campus?

Maybe a more reasonable approach is to see if the searches materialize, if they result in any alerts, additional searches and arrests. At that point, if there is an issue or probable rights violation, maybe at that point you could hold a dialog with the schools and their attorneys. After that, if the 'rights violations' continue, you could pursue further action.

Your continued threats to cost the district significant money with law suits as soon as the dogs are brought on campus is what I am confused by. Can't we try to handle things reasonably and maturely? Do we have to threaten suits all the time? Can we teach our kids a proper way to handle situations that we don't like? Is threatening to bankrupt someone the way you want to see your kids handle things?

I had kids in a school where they held dog searhces and really it was a non-issue. BUT... I can see how it could be mis-used. The district we were from had many things go on that would throw everyone here into more of a tailspin. I think we need to react if there is misuse but I don't think we need to 'throw out the baby with the bathwater'.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm

"Can we teach our kids a proper way to handle situations that we don't like? "

I agree, why don't you say that to the district? Bringing sniffing dogs and violating students' rights to correct a problem (drugs) they don't like is NOT a proper way to handle the drug problem.


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