Pubdate: Thu, 21 Feb 2002
Source: Florence Times Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 Times Daily
Author: Tom Smith


RED BAY - For the second time in two weeks, a search of a Franklin County 
school has resulted in a student being arrested.

Using drug-detecting dogs, local law enforcement authorities said they 
found a small amount of marijuana and an uncontrolled substance Wednesday 
morning inside a vehicle in the Red Bay High School parking lot.

Police Chief Reb Boatwright said a 17-year-old boy was arrested and charged 
with second-degree possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of a 
controlled substance. The student was placed in the custody of juvenile 

After a canine search last week, a student at Phil Campbell High School was 
arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug 
paraphernalia. Also last week, a 13-year-old student at Tharptown Junior 
High School was arrested after a small amount of marijuana and drug 
paraphernalia reportedly was found in his possession.

"We want our people to know that this kind of behavior is not going to be 
tolerated in our schools," Boatwright said.

Red Bay High School Principal Bobby Forsythe said he hopes to send a 
message of zero tolerance of illegal drug activity.

Canine units from the Franklin County Sheriff's Department, the 
Russellville and Belmont, Miss., police departments joined Red Bay in 
making the random search of the school. Three dogs raced through the halls 
of the high school and middle schools, searching lockers before turning 
their attention to the parking lot.

Nothing was found inside the lockers, Boatwright said.

Wednesday was the first time this year a search has been conducted at the 
school, he said. "We do this from time to time to serve as a deterrent. 
It's a complete surprise."

Forsythe said he's glad to see law enforcement come to the school. "I've 
told them they don't need an invitation. They can come anytime," he said. 
"The more it's done, the better I like it.

"Drugs are a major problem in our society, and we're trying to do all we 
can to keep our young people from being involved in the drug scene."

Franklin District Attorney John Pilati said the purpose of these searches 
is twofold.

"Obviously, we want these searches to detect any illegal drug activity in 
our schools," Pilati said. "Secondly, it has a deterring affect. Those 
people who would bring drugs into the school need to be on edge. The dogs 
could show up today, tomorrow or the next day or all three days.

"The visibility, I hope, will act as a deterrent in the ongoing battle with 
illegal drug use by our young people."
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