Pubdate: Fri, 14 May 2004
Source: Midland Mirror (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 Midland Mirror
Author: Janis Leering


Marijuana was the only drug found at Midland Secondary School when the 
Midland Police Service paid a visit on Tuesday morning, but the principal 
still isn't happy.

Paul Sloan, principal, said it has been some time since the school has been 
searched for drugs.

"I don't feel that drugs are a problem in particular, but I would be naive 
if I thought that drugs weren't a part of the landscape," said Sloan.

Sloan said he requested assistance from the police because he wants to send 
the message that drugs aren't welcome at the school.

"This is not the place to do, or sell, illegal drugs. We want to do 
everything we can to minimize the opportunity for them to be here."

He said the police don't have a regular schedule to check the school, it's 
just part of the strategy he is able to use to discourage drug use.

It took police two-and-a-half hours to finish checking the school, after it 
was locked down at 9:30 a.m.

"The OPP Canine Unit provided three officers to us and, along with a school 
staff member, we searched the lockers while the students were (locked) in 
their classrooms," said Det. Sgt. Jim Rettinger with the Midland Police 

"MSS is broken up so it was difficult for the dogs to breeze through the 
job, but also the more items we identified, the slower the process was."

After searching the lockers, the students were lined up outside their 
classrooms while the dogs sniffed through their backpacks and purses left 
behind in the room.

"If a dog identified a substance in a duffel bag or purse, the staff member 
would have to reach for the item.

"If narcotics or drug paraphernalia were found, they turned it over to the 

Rettinger said the student was then called back into the classroom, and the 
staff member would show the item to the student before handing it over to 

 From there, it was up to the police to lay charges.

Rettinger said he understands marijuana is part of teen culture, and police 
decided only to charge students with large amounts of marijuana. He said in 
the situation where a joint, paraphernalia, or small amounts of marijuana 
were found, police left it up to the school to deal with the student.

At the end of the day, only three people were charged with possession of a 
controlled substance for the purposes of trafficking, two of which were 
young offenders.
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