No, you can’t pet them: Metea introduces canine search program

Principal Dr. Darrell Echols sent out an email to Metea families on Monday regarding implementation of a search program of campus and parking lots by trained dogs.

The program is in partnership with Interquest Detection Canines, a nationwide company providing drug and contraband sniffing dogs to industries and schools. Trained dogs of non-aggressive breeds such as Golden and Labrador retrievers are to search for illicit drugs and narcotics, gunpowder-based items, alcoholic beverages, and commonly abused over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

“School campus common areas, lockers, parking lots and grounds will be randomly inspected for prohibited items. If an item is found, we will initiate the appropriate disciplinary action, in accordance with our existing school policies and procedures. The program does not involve the search of individual students. At no time will this ever be allowed,” Echols said in the email.

The Interquest Detection Canine program website claims to be successful because it “eliminate[s] the need to ‘lock down’ a campus, thereby minimizing the interruption of the educational process” and “send[s] a message to students, parents and the community that a school has initiated a proactive position regarding the presence of prohibited items.”

The canines are expected to have regular appearances in the building. “We expect the school safety dog to become a regular part of the school day and part of the culture of our school,” Echols said in the email.

The protocol follows increasing concerns regarding the usage of e-cigarettes and other contraband on school grounds.