The Use of Drug-Sniffing Dogs in High School Campuses
With the rising use of drugs amongst high school students, initiatives to curb these trends are developed within the various institutions that get charged with molding their character. The family institutions, schools, and religious departments put their efforts to reduce the statistic of students abusing drugs. The use of marijuana, alcohol, ecstasy and commonly abused prescription drugs by students makes the control of drug abuse strenuous. The scope of drugs that can be abused is far beyond the limit of control measures put forward to prevent access to them. The high schools recently initiated a new measure to deter students from the use of drugs, which are drug-sniffing dogs. The dogs do random, periodical searches through the campuses of a given high school to fish out drugs and other related paraphernalia. This was meant to discourage students from coming to school with drugs. This move is not appropriate as it is extreme and is followed by a plethora of adverse effects.
The use of drug sniffing-dogs within high schools is not appropriate, as it covers a hefty portion of the school budget. Santa Barbara Unified School District has to pay $410 per day for inspection. Overall its campuses, the cost of this daily search increases by whole number factors thereby costing the parents excessively much money. This increases the cost of education substantially, and this might be detrimental to economically burdened students. The students who do not abuse drugs still have to incur the cost, and despite the fact that they are morally upright will not appreciate the use of the drug-sniffing dog. They have no other option than to view this as open extortion of funds from them. This initiative is not right given that students have to incur the costs themselves, considering the money could get used to improve the facilities within the public schools.
The efficiency of using drug-sniffing dogs is questionable. The aim of the dogs is to actually find drugs within the school premises, but through the history of the initiative, breakthroughs have been dismal. Case in point, Kern High School District (KHSD) in California where the dog employed for the job did not get any conclusive results following its tenure. Later on, the dog was retired due to a lack of results. This puts to question the training of the dogs deployed to search within the high school students’ bags, lockers, and cars. Evidently, KHSD has not redone the procedure over the last 2 years due to the unsettling futility of the procedure. This might even encourage students to come with drugs to school as the looming threat of a search is viewed as a futile scare tactic. This also brings back the issue of cost; the companies that provide the dogs charge exorbitantly for the services they offer, yet their dogs are not always competent. This results in a blatant waste of funds (Local high school drug-sniffing program makes changes).
The employing of drug-sniffing dogs should not be affected because the policies and procedures following the discovery of drugs within the school have not yet been developed. Santa Barbara Unified School District has begun deploying the dogs but the board is yet to determine the course of action to take in incidences where drugs are found. They have not formulated any punishments or programs to control the issue. This puts the whole procedure futile, as the students will not be helped much from the practice. The goal is to prevent students from using drugs, not to just catch them without any preset course of action meant to prevent or control the use of drugs.
The use of sniffing dogs is not proper because it is bound to be subjective. Certain ethnicities will be targeted by this procedure leading to the expulsions and suspensions of a particular group within the school. Some board members of Santa Barbara Unified School District fear for the Latino fraternity among the students because the justice system within the school is biased against them. The restorative justice discipline model will also be disheveled by the continued use of such punishment within the schools. This model is being developed from junior high schools into the senior high schools and such punishment models would disturb the integration of this system into the schools.
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The atmosphere within the school would become uneasy with the use of sniffing-dogs, and the lack of trust will culture a rebellious attitude within the student fraternity. The suspicions of the school administration would encourage rebellious attitudes because students also view this move as extremist as their privacy is thrown out the window. The dogs will only prevent the students from bringing drugs within the school premises, but outside the schools, they are free to participate in whatever form of drug abuse they desire. This gets prevalent as, among most of the teenage students, rebellion boosts their social status.
On the other hand, the deployment of drug-sniffing dogs to regulate the extent of drug abuse that high school students participate in is commendable for its sheer purpose. The statistics of the numbers of minors abusing drugs are an eyesore. The percentage of 12th graders that had smoked marijuana as of August 2012 stood at 22.6%. This statistic is worrying, as it has been on an upward swing over the years with the number of students abusing drugs increasing with time. With such levels of extreme drug abuse, an extreme measure is undoubtedly warranted. Furthermore, the school boards insist that the students will not receive body searches as a means of respecting their privacy (High School and Youth Trends).
In conclusion, the deployment of the sniffing-dogs within high school campuses is not justified, and should thus be trashed. The cost of the measure is unnecessarily high given the inefficiency of the procedure. The students will not get discouraged from using drugs, as they will be free to do whatever they want outside the school premises. The restorative justice model should be enhanced within the school to enhance reconciliation and understanding between the school administration and the students. The expense of punishments such as expulsions and suspension could be avoided by such retributive measures.