Pubdate: Sat, 20 May 2006
Source: Morris Daily Herald (IL)
Copyright: 2006 Morris Daily Herald
Author: Bill Braksick
Bookmark: (Students - United States)
Bookmark: (Drug Dogs)


It wasn't bombs this time, but drugs that police dogs  were sniffing 
out at Morris Com-munity High School  Friday afternoon.

Despite having had two bomb threats in the past two  weeks, school 
administrators went forward with plans to  have a team of 
drug-sniffing dogs search the school.

"There are so many requests to do this that we're lucky  to get them 
here," Associate Principal Tom Talarico  said. "The timing wasn't the 
best, but it really  shouldn't have disrupted anyone."

One person it did disrupt was a clean-cut young man in  baggy blue 
jeans frayed at the feet who insisted he did  not smoke marijuana, 
even as police officers found  residue and rolling papers in the back 
of his Jeep  Cherokee.

"I suppose you don't drink, either," an Illinois State  Police 
officer said as he pulled an empty Coors Light  bottle from the back 
of the vehicle.

But that scenario was the exception, not the rule. A  search by four 
police dogs -- two from Illinois State  Police, one from the Grundy 
County Sheriff's Department  and one from the Marseilles Police 
Department --  uncovered no illegal drugs inside the school. Talarico 
said dogs passed by every locker, and entered several  random 
classrooms that were briefly emptied, but the  students were not searched.

There were instances when a dog "targeted" a locker,  but subsequent 
searches did not uncov er any illegal  drugs. Students whose lockers 
were targeted were all  interviewed.

"We're not naive enough to think that there aren't any  (illegal 
drugs in school), but we feel our school is a  safe environment," 
Talarico said. "We want to press  upon the kids that we do look, and 
make them aware that  we are diligent about checking for drugs."

Assistant Principal Kelly Hussey said that the  unannounced drug 
sweeps serve as a deterrent for those  who might try to bring drugs 
into the building.

"The purpose of this is not to get somebody in  trouble," Hussey 
said. "It's to protect the people we  deal with, and help them 
realize there are consequences  to illegal actions."

According to Morris Police Sergeant Scott Henderson, at  least one 
student will learn those consequences. A  17-year-old female was 
arrested after a dog targeted  upon her vehicle and police later 
found marijuana in  the car. Henderson said she is being charged with 
possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The  misdemeanor 
could be upgraded since it took place on  school property.

The young man mentioned earlier will likely face  disciplinary action 
from the school district.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom