Drug Sniffing Dogs in Public Schools? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Drug Sniffing Dogs in Public Schools?

Whitney White Whitney White
Mary Cochran Mary Cochran
Maleta Siliga Maleta Siliga
Ivan Asuncion Ivan Asuncion
Custer Custer

By Paul Drewes

HONOLULU (KHNL) -  Hawaii's public school drug policy could have a little more "bite" if a pilot program is adopted for the state.

The program allowed for drug searches at three public schools on Maui, but if it is put in place, all public secondary schools, like Kalakaua Intermediate, could be visited by latest weapon in the war on drugs.

Custer the dog, has been at school for the past five months. Not because he has something to learn, but because his nose has been highly trained.

"Custer sniffs, that's all he does. He doesn't go to the beach , so his desire to find those odors is his life." says Custer's Owner, Whitney White.

He's searching for odors of drugs, alcohol and gunpowder. Part of the state's pilot program that covered three Maui schools, but some want this program to reach across the state in the future.

"I'm hoping it will expand to all secondary schools statewide." says Mary Cochran, with the Board of Education.

In the initial program, only common areas , like hallways and bathrooms were sniffed.

But many want lockers included , like they are in many mainland searches.

"One principal said I want those lockers, but that may be touching on the privacy rights of our students." adds Cochran.

"When the kids know the dog sniffs everywhere, that's when the drug and alcohol leave campus." says White.

And many parents are supportive of the program in school.

"The idea is a good one, as a parent I think it's a very good idea." says parent Maleta Siliga.

But not everyone thinks Custer should be in our schools. In addition to concerns about student's rights being impacted, some students say the drug problem just isn't as bad as it seems.

"There's no drug dealing, no fights over drugs, so it won't do anything." says Moanalua student, Ivan Asuncion.

The board of education will meet again later this month to discuss procedures for student searches and decide whether Custer will back on campus.

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