<strong>THE DOG NOSE:</strong> Contraband-detecting canine Skeeter searches a classroom at Chaparral High School in Ojai. He is trained to identify narcotics, commonly abused prescription drugs, and gunpowder.
Paul Wellman

A split vote by Santa Barbara Unified School District boardmembers earlier this month approved a $13,500 one-year contract with Interquest Detection Canines to search Dos Pueblos, La Cuesta, San Marcos, and Santa Barbara high schools for a variety of illegal substances and related paraphernalia, from alcohol and marijuana to heroin and firearms.

Generally, boardmembers supporting the expenditure – Gayle Eidelson, Ed Heron and Kate Parker – say the monthly searches of classrooms, lockers, and parking lots sends a clear message to students while alleviating pressure on teachers.

Boardmembers against – Monique Limon and Pedro Paz – point out that last year, drug dogs can take credit for zero of the high schools’ 147 drug-related busts, and that while figures show a decrease in cases over the past six years, that overall decline started before dogs were brought into the picture three years ago. “I would rather put our financial resources into finding ways to get students off drugs rather than students finding different ways to hide them,” Limon said.

In other news from the district, 400 Dos Pueblos High School students – 20 percent of the school’s student body – are enrolled in the nationally recognized Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy (DPEA). Of those, half are female, a number “that surpasses any other educational engineering program in the country,” according to a letter from the DPEA Foundation.


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