Pubdate: Sat, 07 Mar 1998
Date: March 7, 1998
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Author: Richard P. Gabriel

IF Milpitas is really serious about using drug-sniffing dogs in its schools
(Page 1B, Feb. 17), school district officials should think a little bit
about human nature, especially behavior in organizations.

If the school administration sends dogs into classrooms, that communicates
several things to the students:

We, the administrators and teachers, think you, the students, might be

There are two classes of people in this organization -- us and you.

The school as a whole is not a team, and we are not working toward a common

Those students predisposed to suspect authority will have their
predispositions reinforced, and those who previously viewed school
officials and teachers as helpers and mentors might begin to wonder.

Worrying about drugs in schools is a good thing, and there is a simple
solution to the problem of possibly causing a rift between students and
school officials: Remove the distinction between the administration and
students by having the dogs search the whole school -- classrooms, offices,
teachers' rooms, storage rooms, the library, cafeterias, everything. Make
it clear that the whole school needs to be drug-free, including students,
teachers, support staff and administrators. When the dogs show up, everyone
is in the same boat.

If you think this is unfair or disrespectful to teachers and administrators
-- maybe you think it tramples on their rights -- then you are beginning to
understand its effect on students.

Richard P. Gabriel