HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Raids Regularly Arranged By School Boards
Pubdate: Fri, 29 Mar 2002
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002, Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: John Steinbachs, Ottawa Sun
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)
Bookmark: (Youth)


For the past three years, school boards have regularly called in police and 
their dope-sniffing dogs for random drug searches at area schools.

When they arrive, police are given a map of the areas the school principal 
wants searched. The search can include any part of the school from hallways 
to classrooms to lockers.

Students are never searched by the dog.

"The purpose of this exercise is not to nail the kids," said Staff Sgt. 
Monique Ackland. Instead, the schools and police say they want to help kids 
who are at risk or are doing drugs.

But the possibility of charges is everpresent and a pocket full of pot 
could net criminal trouble for the students.

About 50 schools are searched by police every year, but few charges result, 
police say.

In the battle of wits between police and the dope smokers some students 
have learned to empty their pockets at the first hint of a raid.

It's not uncommon for officers to find dumped dope or baggies on the floor 
of classrooms that have been emptied for a search.

If the dog finds an item like a backpack or a jacket with drugs, the owner 
is located and questioned. School officials then ask the student to empty 
their pockets.

Chris Laurin's lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said the blame in this case 
doesn't fall on the police.

"The problem here is the suspension and that's issued by the school and 
that's what has to be rescinded," said Greenspon.

Without drugs no suspension should have been handed out, said Greenspon.
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