HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Schools Bid To Sniff Out Drugs
Pubdate: Wed, 30 Oct 2002
Source: Peace Arch News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 Peace Arch News
Author: Kevin Diakiw


Peninsula 'Hotbed For Drug Activity' Could Debut Locker Checks

Drug dogs may soon prowl Surrey schools, particularly here in the south, 
where teens dealing and possessing illegal drugs is a growing concern.

The random dog patrol is one option being considered by Surrey's new 
drug-crime task force, a group of 27 experts and elected officials looking 
for ways to reduce substance abuse and related crime.

Surrey school trustee Heather Stilwell said Monday the use of dogs and 
random searches by principals are both being considered as tools to tackle 
the issue.

In addition, the school board is looking for a "no-tolerance" policy 
whereby students caught with drugs are dealt with severely. The 
district-wide curriculum is being retooled to include drug awareness 
education at earlier grades.

"Ten years ago, I never would have dreamed we would have drug education in 
Grades 4 though 7," Stilwell told Surrey council Monday.

"It breaks my heart."

Stilwell was one of several people addressing council at a drug-crime task 
force update. Others included Surrey-North MP Chuck Cadman, Surrey-Green 
Timbers MLA Brenda Locke and Dr. Roland Guasparini with Fraser Health 

Most discussion surrounded fighting drug abuse in its early stages, before 
students drop out of school and hit the streets.

Indications are drug abuse isn't isolated to traditional boundaries, with 
much of it occurring in South Surrey schools. Stilwell couldn't say which 
schools on the Peninsula, if any, were notably bad.

"I don't know, I've just had it described as the south," Stilwell said.

She understands bringing drug sniffing dogs into schools may be 
controversial, but believes that once students get word canines are 
patrolling schools, dealers will take their business elsewhere.

Const. Mike Elston agrees.
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