Pubdate: Fri, 04 Dec 2009
Source: Red River Valley Echo, The (CN MB)
Copyright: 2009 Altona Red River Valley Echo
Author: Greg Vandermeulen


Border Land School Division has hired a private company to bring in a 
drug sniffing dog to all four high schools.

Superintendent Tim Mendel said this approach allows the division to 
look for drugs without being dependent on calling the RCMP.

"If you bring in the police, they may not want to come," he said. 
"They need some probable cause."

Mendel said this approach, which costs about $300 per visit, gives 
the division the power as to when and where the dog sniffing unit will go.

"We're in control of the situation," he said. "We can decide when, on 
fairly short notice."

Mendel said the dog will be through W.C. Miller Collegiate, Roseau 
Valley School, Shevchenko School in Vita and Ross L. Gray School in Sprague.

So far a small amount of marijuana was found at W.C. Miller in Altona.

Just one approach

Mendel said this is only one of many tools the division uses to fight 
against drugs.

Education programs take place in all high schools, and counsellors 
work with students and parents when required.

And the lesson for students thinking about bringing the drug trade 
into school hallways is clear.

"We want to send the message that we are watching," Mendel said.

He added this approach gives the division the discretion on how to 
handle a situation, although he was quick to add that any drugs found 
are handed over to the police.

But just because the drug sniffing dog is available, doesn't mean 
anyone should relax their guard.

"Nothing beats vigilance on the part of the staff and parents," he said.

"Let's not be shy about keeping an eye on our young people."

The dog is expected to go through schools as many as four times per 
year, but if staff suspects drug issues, it can be brought in more often.

Mendel said the idea seems to have support. "There's been a positive 
response so far from parents," he said. "We want to do everything we 
can to keep our schools safe and drug free."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart