OPINION: What's the rush?


Pleasanton has always made crime prevention a top priority, which benefits all that live, work and raise families here.

But in a city that has spent millions of dollars in litigation costs and with a school district that's not far behind, proponents of sending drug-sniffing dogs onto high school campuses should make sure the legality of the sniffing is clear before making the move.

The school board's much-publicized effort to use dogs to reduce drug use in the schools also has another consequence. It's sending a message that Pleasanton may have more of a teenage drug problem than it does, which may frighten away new residents and/or create a negative image of our community.

One Realtor already has heard from a Raleigh, N.C., mother who is considering a move here but now is concerned because of the stories she has read about drug problems in our city's high schools.

The subject, which writer Glenn Wohltmann covers in depth in today's online and print editions of the Pleasanton Weekly, has been among the most talked-about/written-about school stories in recent weeks throughout the Bay Area and other parts of the country.

From national newsletters such as "Police Link" to "Dogs Online" to newspapers in Beaumont, Texas, and Palm Desert, Calif., Pleasanton high schools, drugs and sniffing dogs have been among leading reports.

Facebook last week included commentaries such as "So, paying extra for a police dog is more important than education?" and, "I see drug sniffing dogs as nothing more that a measure to keep drugs out of schools in affluent communities where kids have the means to acquire them."

Google Pleasanton + high schools and a host of stories come up related to drugs and drug detection dogs.

Pleasanton police have said they will not charge for their services, which will be paid out of city funds.

Wohltmann points out that there continues to be concern over the legality of drug-detection dogs sniffing around public school campuses, although most courts have agreed that it's not an intrusive act. Still, as Wohltmann writes, the U.S. Supreme Court may have the final word when it rules later this year on a Florida case.

Our school board, though, wants to have its dog-detection policy in place for a vote on Feb. 28. We don't need another lawsuit against the Pleasanton school district and, since Pleasanton police dogs will be used, against the city.

Why not wait until the Supreme Court rules. What's the rush?

Pleasanton Weekly staff.


Like this comment
Posted by Get Real
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 3, 2012 at 8:44 am

Pleasanton may have more of a teenage drug problem than YOU think. Having a good image is more important than our teenagers?

Like this comment
Posted by I AGREE
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 10:02 am

Pleasanton DOES have a bigger teen drug problem than you think! WAKE UP Pleasanton, it can happen in any community no matter the economic level. Thank you to our schools and police department for taking on this urgent issue. My kids graduated from Pleasanton schools not that long ago and I would have welcomed the drug sniffing dogs when they were in school.

Like this comment
Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 10:22 am

Having Pleasanton police officers roaming school parking lots with dogs takes police officers off the streets of Pleasanton. These Pleasanton police officers should be patrolling the streets of Pleasanton, keeping our neighborhoods and parks safe, keeping senior citizens and shoppers safe by patrolling our business districts and shopping malls, and responding to emergency calls from our residents, not walking their dogs on Pleasanton school campuses.

If the school board thinks they is a huge drug trafficking problem on campus, they should PAY the full value of salaries and benefits to the city for 3 extra police officers to be hired. These 3 officers should be put them in the schools (Amador, Foothill and Village) as undercover 'students' to pose as real students in order to track down the big time drug pushers the school board obviously believes have invaded the school system.

Is the $500,000 per year for the school board too much spend or two little to spend because there is a MAJOR drug problem?

That is up to them.

However, I am appalled the school district mooching off the city's budget like leeches and diverting public safety officers from the streets who should be patrolling the streets of Pleasanton.

Like this comment
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 3, 2012 at 10:22 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

In my opinion it would be hard to overestimate the drug problem among youth in Pleasanton. I've witnessed a young man shooting heroin into his forearm 50 feet from my living room window.

Pleasanton Weekly Staff- you are speaking about something you know nothing about. Leave the School District and the Police do their unpleasant job.

Like this comment
Posted by notRidiculous
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Mr. Ridiculous,

The kids in school who do drugs are also part of the city. Whatever they do is not confined to the walls of the schools. It does spill into the city streets too. Schools are part of the city and gives character too.

Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I just have a hard time believing that this police dog approach is going to be effective. It sounds like a high visibility, feel-good, effort which just randomly targets everyone at school instead of focussing attention on the small percentage of students who are probably at the heart of the problem.

Like this comment
Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Sam, I agree. Even when some student is singled out and the 'search' turns out nothing, the student will have to go through the humiliation of being called out of class by the fuzz and questioned by the SS, um I mean, PUSD interrogation team. Have you heard about these? A preview -

"Billy, I know you have something important to share with us. The canines picked up a sniff about SOMETHING. Tell us. What friends were with you the other night? Who was in your car? Billy, talk to us. We'll go easy on you if you just open up to us."

And then there is the "Enemies List." Use the YAHOO search engine and type in the 3 words "CUSD Enemies List" and you'll see the school district maintained an enemies list containing entire family trees of families and children and relatives of petition circulators, community activists and municipal elected and appointed officials throughout the entire county.

I see Lawsuits with a capital L.

Like this comment
Posted by Heroin, Really?
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Feb 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Mooseturd (love the name) above mentioned that he witnessed a young man shooting heroin in his arm. My Pleasanton hairdresser told me that in the 6 weeks since I've seen her 2 different clients came in saying they have found out their teens were using heroin.
THIS IS the noise and chatter that we should all be paying attention to. If we don't talk, look, sniff and listen how are we going to know what's going on.

Like this comment
Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Obviously, the school district's superintendent and President (is that Laursen?) or their highly paid but dubious legal eagles either have not read the Attorney General of California's opinion saying it is already unconstitutional or have read it and choose to ignore it. Or perhaps the drug dogs should head to the School Board office because maybe they can in fact read there, but cannot interpret what they read:

"We are asked whether a school’s random investigation of drugs contained in pupils’ personal belongings, using dogs to sniff the belongings outside of the pupils’presence, followed by a search of any belongings to which the dogs reacted, would be permissible under the Fourth Amendment of the federal Constitution and the privacy guarantee of the California Constitution. We conclude that the proposed random detection program would not survive constitutional scrutiny."

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm

What's the Rush? "A Child's Right to Learn" There are 18 other hours in the day to experiment with drugs. Actually... What's the Rush? "A Child's Right to Learn" would provide a wonderful title to the new written policy, IMO. Thank you, Pleasanton Weekly!

Like this comment
Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Actually a new policy could be: "A Child's Right to Learn in an Environment Where the Superintendent and Board Members Actually Know What They Are Doing." Maybe we could send the six to reading specialists.


Byline: Karen Maeshiro Staff Writer

MOJAVE - The Mojave Unified School District will halt random checks of students' backpacks using drug-sniffing dogs after a state Attorney General's Office opinion said such searches are unconstitutional.

The Attorney General's Office said making students leave their backpacks so a dog can sniff them conflicts with the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches and seizures, and the the privacy guarantee of the California Constitution.

``We conclude that the proposed random detection program would not survive constitutional scrutiny,'' stated the opinion, issued in November.

Like this comment
Posted by Matt
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Most poorly thought out editorial you have ever written. All schools have some kids selling and using drugs. This action helps safeguard our kids and our community. Any parent who wouldn't move to a school district with this program is clueless. This is a good school system and this program will make it even better. Reasonable people will conclude there is no downside.

Like this comment
Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2012 at 6:57 pm

This does no safeguarding of anyone, but basically ensures employment of multiple legal firms for the next few years on lawsuits.

Furthermore, given that most of the general Pleasanton population, all ages, all races, at all times of day, has been at one time or another pulled over for a traffic stop by the Pleasanton police for no particular reason, then asked very silly questions about where you had been, where were you going, what your job is, why are you out so late, you were just in a store-what is in your shopping bag, etc., this means that the Pleasanton police routinely pulls over people with no actual traffic violation or probable cause.

How many stories of people being stopped with various excuses like 'you used your turn signal too late,' 'you forgot to use your turn signal,' or 'you tail-light seems to not be working' do you have to hear in this community before you start to really question what is exactly going on?

If too many police officers have been hired in this community and the low level of actual crimes does not support the huge police payroll, then the mayor and city council should immediately lay off some police officers. But don't send them to our schools as a way to bide their time and come up with more supposed 'juvenile' crimes by having them target the teen and tween crowds.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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