Dog Days For High Schools

Board Approves Contract Renewal for Drug-Sniffing Canines

Thursday, August 29, 2013
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In a rare split vote, the Santa Barbara school board approved the renewal of a contract with Interquest Detection Canines to provide drug-sniffing dogs for one more year. For the price of $13,500, a handler and a dog will pay 60 half-day visits to the district’s high schools to sniff around classrooms and parked cars.

Trustee Pedro Paz and Board President Monique Limón both dissented. Limón ​— ​along with Annette Cordero, who is no longer on the board ​— ​also voted against the dogs when they were first brought on. “It’s just not an investment I feel confident about,” Limón said, noting that she had just heard a story about a student whose backpack was identified for marijuana even though there were no drugs in it. Drug use has been trending down for three years, she pointed out, while the dogs have only been here for one.

Ed Heron said that the dogs are there to keep drugs off campus, not for inter­vention. He pointed out that the district invests way more in intervention than prevention: for instance, $195,000 on counselors from the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. He and Kate Parker said they felt the dogs played a role in the decreased number of drug-related suspensions.

“It’s correlational data at best,” said Pedro Paz, who analyzes data for his day job as a program evaluator with First Five Santa Barbara County. Although Superintendent David Cash noted that all of the high school principals requested one additional year of the dogs in order to collect more data, Paz said that wouldn’t make a difference if the district did not devise a scientific study. He said that he couldn’t vote for an investment of taxpayer dollars based on “faith.”

He and Limón also mentioned that the kids are “savvy” about avoiding detection. For instance, they warn each other about the dogs via text. And due to legal precedent, they are allowed to take their bags with them when the dogs inspect their classrooms. Trustee Gayle Eidelson, who voted with the majority, said, “As a parent, school board­member, member of this community, it’s important … to say this is something that’s not allowed on campus. I feel the drug dogs are a tool enforcing that message.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Data? We don't need no stinkin' data!

Like the gang injunction, at least it looks like they are trying to do something, anything.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
August 29, 2013 at 7:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Great. Let's teach our kids that the Constitution is only an idea... it doesnt actually apply to citizens. Let's teach our children to hate the police and distrust authority. Let's ignore history, ignore our foundation and our founding fathers vision. Instead let's teach our children that oppression and ignorance, fear and lies are how things are actually done in the USA. And of course money(gotta keep those Fed grants coming)

Yes, ignore the "legal" drugs, the Riddlin, the Adderal, the Xanax and alcohol and instead teach our children that the facts are not important, the basis is not important, control is what matters...that power is determined not by intelligence and logic but by ignorance and fear....

The funny thing is, these types of draconian policies do exactly the opposite of what the Board desires... they builds apathy and turn children against authority.

The Drug War was the beginning of the end of America.. Its destroyed our country while enriching the very people we declare as enemies...

Kids know this...

iamsomeguyinsb (anonymous profile)
August 29, 2013 at 8:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Somebody just needs to take some hash oil and spread it on all the lockers, doors and everybody's backpack so the dog alerts on everybody.

I'll bet if the dogs had any idea what they were doing they would refuse to work. Which makes me wonder what the hell the police are thinking.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
August 29, 2013 at 3:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Do any of these people ever ask themselves WHY it's come to this?

I feel like a charectar in some futuristic science fiction movie about a totalitarian state.

What a ship of fools we have running our world.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 29, 2013 at 11:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'll just jump on the bandwagon by stating I can think of a lot better use for $13K than this idiocy. Has the Board looked at the rate of false positives for dog sniffing. You don't need more data to know that the error rate is VERY high.

I think, loonpt, that what the cops are thinking (if I can use that word) is, "Oh, goody. More drug money" although it is not going directly to the cops in this case. "Directly" being the important word.


SezMe (anonymous profile)
August 30, 2013 at 1:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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