Who let the dogs out? No one has yet, but Interquest Detection Canines, hired by the Castro Valley Unified School District, will release drug-detecting dogs on CVHS in the spring to search for illegal substances. There will be at least a couple of random visits this year where the dogs will sniff lockers and parking lots.
“We don’t really want to catch anyone,” clarified Leslie Rothwell, director of pupil service at CVUSD and a former CVHS principal. “The whole point of the program is to reduce the presence of drugs, alcohol, abused medication and weapons on campus and school grounds. That is why we are getting the information out to the students in advance. We want those items to be kept off campus.”
Each visit costs $350 for the whole day, which is paid for by a safety grant that can only be used to improve or secure campus safety.
When the guided dogs smell an illegal substance, they simply sit down next to the locker or the car possibly containing illegal substances. A school official then brings the student to watch the search of his or her property. If an illegal substance were to be found, a deputy would be summoned to arrest the student.
Possible punishments for students who are caught include a five day suspension, loss of parking privileges, and/or loss of sports and dance eligibility, said Assistant Principal Jesse Woodward.
The drug-sniffing dogs paid the school annual visits a few years ago, but the program was lost last year with the budget cuts. The visits were reinstated due to a number of incidents involving drugs this year.
“I personally think the dogs are going to get really stuffy noses after sniffing our school,” said senior Hiu Keung. Despite his concern for the dogs, Keung does not mind the presence of drug dogs on campus and believes it is a good program.