SBHS board allows use of dogs to find contraband

Janelle Haggett from Wonder Woofs talks to her two-year-old golden retriever Sparks as they search the girls locker room for narcotics in 2012. Haggert and her husband run a local non-profit where they take trained K-9 narcotics dogs to search San Benito

San Benito High School trustees this week approved a board policy to allow the use of trained dogs to find contraband materials on campus, according to Tricia Cooper, the administrative assistant to the superintendent who takes minutes at the meetings.
The policy updated how the trained dogs would be used. The policy changes allow for the use of metal detectors, which the district currently does not use; permit random classroom checks; and generally increase the dog presence on campus, Superintendent John Perales told the Free Lance.
In the past, the district contracted with Wonder Woofs, a Hollister-based K-9 narcotics search unit that uses golden retrievers to look for drugs, alcohol and gunpowder on school campuses. The cost of the district’s current contract with Wonder Woofs is $4,500, according to background information in the agenda packet for the April 5 board meeting.
The policy on the use of contraband detection dogs came before the board for a first reading / hearing at the regular board meeting held March 15.
The goal is to promote student safety by having the dogs on campus, the superintendent explained. The changes will go into effect at the start of the next school year, allowing the school time to notify parents, community members and students of the updated policy, Perales explained.
“We know that drugs and alcohol are something that students at the high school experiment with and sometimes these experiments have dire consequences,” the superintendent said.

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