Town Square

Sniffing out trouble

Original post made on Feb 3, 2012

Dogs may be man's best friend, but for some Pleasanton students, in the not-too-distant future, they may be anything but.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 3, 2012, 12:00 AM


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 7:15 am

"all school administrators need is a reasonable suspicion, which is a legal proof less than probable cause."

They need INDIVIDUAL reasonable suspicion.

"In Livermore, when they're brought in, students are asked to leave their backpacks behind in the classroom and class is held somewhere else."

This is a violation of 4th amendment rights here in California. It goes to show that Livermore parental population is not as aware of their rights as we are here in Pleasanton. The 9th circuit court already ruled that sniffing a student or his/her backpack is considered a search, and if done without INDIVIDUAL reasonable suspicion, it is a violation of 4th amendment rights.

"In pushing for the drug dogs, Kevin Johnson, Pleasanton school district's senior director of pupil services"

With all thess budget cuts, this is a position that should be let go. After all, he is about to cost the district a lot of money in legal fees. Kevin: Connecticut is in the 2nd circuit court of appeals, we are in the 9th circuit court. Have you not read all the legal background here in California? Glenn has a summary in this article. Or about the legal background in other states like Washington which are also in the 9th circuit? Here is the map of the circuit courts:

Web Link

"It's unlikely, however, that the court will rule before the Pleasanton board lets drug dogs start their searches here"

Yes, so Pleasanton may well be in court at the same time. This is absolutely ridiculous.

The board members are out of line for approving this. When will you stop doing what the administration tells you and start thinking for youselves? I am especially disappointed in Hintzke, whose husband seemed to have reasonable ideas and objections to this issue.

Let the legal battle begin!

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Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Feb 3, 2012 at 8:37 am

Since you keep referencing the 9th circus court, I thought this L.A. Times article might bring some perspective into this discussion about their judicial record: Web Link

Just saying, they are not the unquestionable authority on most matters brought before them, so any ruling they make will likely be overturned or at least thoroughly re-examined.

None of this is settled law, is my point, especially with this court's liberal interpretations so often proven wrong.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 9:06 am

"None of this is settled law, is my point, especially with this court's liberal interpretations so often proven wrong."

The ruling of the 9th circuit court stands until a challenge is made and the US Supreme Court rules. There is a Florida case pending.

Until someone challenges the ruling of the 9th circuit court (about sniffing), that applies right now, and Livermore is doing something that in California so far is considered a violation of 4th amendment rights.

Another school district in California was doing something similar to what Livermore is doing and a parent sued and the district quickly ended the nonsense (this was in 2009 and the case did not go to court since the district decided to change what they were doing).

We will see what happens. I am surprised that a district that claims to be short in cash and is about to make some serious budget cuts is willing to spend money on litigation, making decisions based on cases in different areas (2 circuit) and a district (Livermore) that is not even following existing rules.

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Posted by guy
a resident of Las Positas
on Feb 3, 2012 at 9:12 am

"The Supreme Court's conservative majority has been changing the law in habeas corpus and other constitutional protections, but the circuits have to follow existing law until those changes are explicit, Reinhardt said.

"It would be easy not to get reversed if you just tried to guess what five of nine justices were going to say about the case," he said. "If you follow the law the way it is, before they change it, you're going to get reversed."

Those darned five activist judges on the Supreme Court, always changing the laws to suit their conservative views. Thankfully they are ethical in ways that the minority of four, Godless, nonactivist liberal judges are not.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 3, 2012 at 10:02 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The dogs won't detect Oxycontin? Does PPD keep records on false positives/accuracy of their dogs?

"Kids say other kids still sell and do drugs, but not there." - What is Livermore doing to address that issue?

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 10:04 am

"The dogs are used a little more aggressively than is planned for Pleasanton: In Livermore, when they're brought in, students are asked to leave their backpacks behind in the classroom and class is held somewhere else."

Livermore parents should read the following (1997):

"On March 19, the ACLU-NC filed suit in U.S. District Court in Sacramento against the Galt Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees and Galt High School officials, charging that forcing students and teachers to relinquish book bags, purses, jackets and other personal belongings to random inspections by drug sniffing dogs violates their constitutional guarantees against unreasonable searches and seizures. "

""After being contacted by the students and their parents, we informed the school board that these searches are illegal because they violate the students' rights," said ACLU-NC managing attorney Alan Schlosser. "However, the district insists that they will continue the program. This type of dragnet search is exactly what the Fourth Amendment was intended to prevent. Galt school officials are giving the students a terrible civics lesson," he added. "

Web Link

"Responding to the ACLU-NC's challenge to the use of drug-sniffing dogs to randomly search students and teachers, the Galt Unified School District Board of Trustees unanimously voted to end the dog searches on May 14.

"This case is important because forcing students to submit to dog sniff searches sends the message that the constitutional rights of students don't count," said ACLU cooperating attorney John Heller of Chapman, Popik & White. "At an age when high school students are learning about their rights and about their Constitution, bringing dogs on campus sends the wrong message. This is bad education."

Charging that the use of the dogs violated the students' constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures, the ACLU-NC filed the suit against the Galt Unified School District on March 19 after Vice-Principal Donna Gill conducted a random search for drugs and weapons in a criminal justice class taught by teacher Michael Millet. When senior Jacob Reed refused to let the dogs sniff his belongings, he was taken to Principal Craig Murray's office where he was searched. Nothing was found. Meanwhile, the dog-sniff inspection continued in the classroom and the dog alerted officials to a jacket belonging to junior Chris Sulamo. SiSulamo was then taken out and searched, but, again school officials found that he had not contraband.

Galt Unified School District had contracted with Interquest Group Inc. to conduct these random dog-sniff inspections of lockers, classrooms, and vehicles for the purposes of detecting drugs, weapons, and other contraband on the students. Nearly 40 school districts throughout the Central Valley continue to make use of the dogs to search through students' belongings. This lawsuit is the first to challenge the constitutionality of policies by which school districts hire private companies to conduct random searches of students' belongings.

"Any use of the dogs in this manner is unconstitutional," Heller said. "No one is arguing that there isn't a drug problem, but you can't respond to the drug problem by trampling on the rights of students. Students don't automatically give up their rights once they pass through the school doors." "

Web Link

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Posted by RSteeb
a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Great idea. Kids would never think to spray bong water on a rival's car / locker...

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Posted by get real
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm

attention ms. hintzke, if i were you i would follow the very important rule for teens..."trust, but verify"

my child graduated from amador last year and before they got on the bus for senior picnic, drug dogs sniffed their stuff. where was the outrage then?

if this program stopped one child from using drugs, wouldn't it be worth it?

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Posted by Drug Prevention
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 4, 2012 at 9:31 pm

No program is worth it if it violates the 4th amendment of the Constitution and the explicit guarantee of Privacy by the California Constitution.