To BSD Parents and Guardians,
To further safety and deter drugs and other illegal contraband in the schools, the Board of Trustees authorizes the use of specially trained, non-aggressive dogs to detect the presence of substances prohibited by law or district policy. Drug-detection dogs may be used periodically to monitor school premises as determined by the administration, including but not limited to, lockers, gym areas, common areas, vehicles, vacated classrooms (and items left in classrooms including book bags, gym bags, coats, jackets, purses, etc.), and perimeters of school property. Our policy and the procedure associated with canine-assisted searches are in line with legal precedent. The Searches and Seizure Policy governs the District’s authority to search students and their property and the student’s responsibility to submit to searches. Under Board Policy 3231, school officials have authority to conduct reasonable searches of school property and equipment, as well as of students and their personal effects, to maintain order and security in the schools.
This year we have contracted with a private company, Interquest, that provides canine detection services. Interquest has worked with many schools, not only in Montana, but also across the nation. The Interquest dogs are trained to seek out and alert on illegal drugs including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and methamphetamines. They also find gunpowder related items such as ammunition and firearms. They also alert on a wide variety of alcoholic beverages as well as often abused over-the-counter and prescription medications. They do not alert on tobacco products or inhalers.
If a dog alerts on an item it will simply sit next to the item containing the odor, this establishes reasonable suspicion to conduct a search. The owner of the item is then escorted to the scene by a school administrator. The student is briefed on the dog's capabilities and given an opportunity to offer an explanation as to the nature of the dog's interest. The location and/or item is then inspected by the handler and contraband items discovered are sealed in an evidence bag and turned over to the school administrator. Parents are contacted and disciplinary action is taken based on Board policy.
If a vehicle is to be opened, the person owning, operating, or responsible for that vehicle shall also be present unless a school administrator deems the situation to be an emergency where public safety could be in jeopardy. Should a person refuse to allow their vehicle to be searched, law enforcement shall be notified.
On December 20, 2012, we provided demonstrations so that all students had the opportunity to see how these specially-trained dogs work. This detection system sends a message to students, parents and the community that our school has initiated a proactive position regarding the presence of prohibited items. Please do not hesitate to contact Gordon Grissom, Principal, at 522-6400 if you have any questions.