Drug Sniffing Dogs at Amity High School

Rumors are circulating around Amity High School about the recent drug bust

*Note: This post was written Saturday afternoon

It’s been a little more than 24 hours since the news broke: Amity High School used drug sniffing dogs to sweep the building. Now the rumor mill is going. This blog is meant to be my opinion on the events clarifying as much as possible. Personally, it wasn’t a bad thing that this happened but that doesn’t mean I think that this was a success.

The dogs sent a message to the students: the school isn’t kidding when they say that they will bring drug sniffing dogs in if need be.

The concept of drug sniffing dogs was introduced to the students in early March. Here we are, end of April the vast majority of students forgot that this was a card the school could play. The student body, as far as I could tell, did not have any advanced warning that this was going to happen. The Amity Administration is smart enough not to tell students that on April 29th there would be drug sniffing dogs in the school. There were no hints, no inklings, no change in attitude that would tip the student body onto this.

Hell, I had a meeting with the principal, Dr. Charles Britton, yesterday morning. Did he say, “Oh, by the way, at 9:45 six drug sniffing dogs and a slew of uniformed officers would bombard the school.” No, he did not nor did any of the administrators. It is ridiculous to even suggest that would happen.

Some have said that the Administration told kids they were bringing drug sniffing dogs to Amity on Friday, April 29th. Let’s think about that for just one minute. These are educators with more experience than sometimes given credit for. None of them are fresh out of college, first job administrators. All four have had prior teaching jobs and, I think, all have been administrators for at least 15 years or administrators in a different school than Amity High prior to this. While some of my peers might not believe it, the administrators and teachers care for us, including our health and wellbeing. Why on Earth would they tip kids off to this?

They’re not looking to get the kids arrested, they’re looking to get kids off the wrong path. The parents that are speculating that they told the students are being counter productive, and frankly, I’m surprised.

The only notice the kids had was that the school had the right to bring drug sniffing dogs into the school. This was made clear to them on March 22nd during the Advisory period. As far as I know the only reason why they had to make it so clear was because it wasn’t published in the student handbook that is given to each student and they sign a page saying they agree to follow the policies written in the book.

On the same token, some students have questioned if the schools has the right to arrest any students that have drugs in their car. I’m no lawyer, but yes. They can for several reasons. First, every student signs that slip of paper agreeing not to bring drugs or alcohol onto school property and that the school may conduct reasonable searches. I’m not sure what constitutes reasonable searches, but I’m sure a drug sniffing dog smelling the lockers, cars, and classroom doors is fair.

Students do not have the right to park on campus, it is a privilege and in my opinion, if you’re storing illegal substances in your car, say ‘goodbye’ to your parking pass.

Now to the more newsworthy item -- the arrest made. Daniel Cote is not, from what I know, a bad kid. I know it’s been said before about a variety of people, but he’s a good guy that made some bad choices. Are there students that use drugs more than him, probably, but I can’t speak to how often he was in contact with the drugs. All I know is that he had the drugs, a scale, packaging materials, and cash. Does that make him a dealer? It sounds like it, but he’s innocent until proven guilty, as we all are.

The fact that Amity had to bring in a drug dog is upsetting. Is this so rare? No. Other schools do it much more often than once in a blue moon. Let’s not play Chicken Little in this community and think our phenomenal school has fallen to junior drug lords. Why? Because it hasn’t.

Amity has always had drugs in it. Sad, but true. Every school has drugs in it, regardless of the wealth, size, or structure of the community. Drugs find their way in. Instead of sitting in front of the computer saying how bad Amity is, get up and make a difference!

I’m in no position to tell people what to do, but get involved in the community. If you’re not only active in your child’s life but the life of others, you might see -- Amity isn’t so bad. Come watch our sports teams, see the plays, musical concerts, and read about all the great things that my peers do.


http://www.amityregion5.org/District_Page/BOE_Policies/StudentIndex.pdf -- Drug Policy is 5131.6(a)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sue Ellen May 05, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Spoken life a true politician in grooming - you are correct, you are in no position to tell adults who have paid for your education for the past 13 years what to do. Don't become the PR person for the Amity School District and deflect their "good" or"bad" decisions - that is what we elected the BOE and pay the administration to do. Don't talk about your fellow senior or other students, you are in on position to do that at this juncture in your life. There is a big problem at the school with more than pot, but our leaders would like us to think differently, the "open" discussion needs to begin.
Bob Brown May 06, 2011 at 03:36 AM
Ma'am, I honestly do not appreciate the fact that you are telling me what I can and cannot say. I am entitled to my opinion. If you don't like it, then write a counter post. Don't tell me that you have paid for my education and I am not allowed to express my opinion. I am not trying to be a PR person for Amity nor am I trying to cover up lies, as you implied. Do you want an open discussion? Here it is. Treat everyone like an equal and the discussion will continue. Oh- I'm a voter too. I elected my officials just like you. I have every right to my opinion. Why can't I talk about my fellow seniors? I said nothing that hasn't been said, I did not put him down. Who are you to say that the school is lying? You are in as much a position to say that as I am to write the post above and express my opinion. That is guaranteed to me in the First Amendment.
orange mom May 06, 2011 at 05:35 AM
Yes Bob, you are correct. You do have every right to your opinion. I love it that you are encouraging a thoughtful discussion. Would we prefer that you be a burnout drug kid? NO! You could rather be thought of as a bridge between the kids and the adults. I would like that. Keep up the good work Bob!
Sue Ellen May 06, 2011 at 10:47 AM
Bob- Thank you for your comments, we all have the right to voice our opinions - that is the indeed the right of the First Amendment. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I have/do commend you for your activities at your school/community and you do have a bright future. At times with difficult discussions, it does get testy - that is life folks; you are going to have a lot more of this in college and in life. In order for change to occur, it's not always smooth sailing and heated debates do occur. Do I apologize to you for my tone? Yes, but I expect the same in return. I agreed with some of your statements, others I did not. Instead of supporting the school in totality, may I suggest that you work with the administration talking to the kids when something like this happens instead of "sweeping it under the rug" like it never happened. Can't change things if it can't be publicly acknowledged as a problem. Best to you in the future.
Diane May 06, 2011 at 01:06 PM
Kudos Bob Brown. You are correct, you have the right to speak for what you believe in, I also appreicate the fact you listen to what others have to say. Keep up the good work.
Debbie May 06, 2011 at 03:06 PM
I liked your blog - I thought it brought up a lot of facts as I know them. I know of the student in question and he is a good kid. I feel bad for the family that they have to go through this, but they should remember that drugs are illegal and that is the beginning and end of it.
Mister Jones May 06, 2011 at 08:16 PM
The right of police and administration officials to conduct warrantless searches of lockers and cars on school property is a result of controversial Supreme Court decisions. Many people are troubled by the idea of whole-school sweeps and random searches without probable cause or other reasonable suspicions. Likewise others are troubled by the interruption in the education process caused by this police activity. There are privacy implications to these searches: how would feel if your locker was identified, and you had pretend the cops and school officials didn't see any legal-but-embarassing stuff? Mostly, though, your comments are subject to fair debate. The one I'll dispute is your statement "They’re not looking to get the kids arrested, they’re looking to get kids off the wrong path." No, police dogs sniffing out drugs can only lead to the arrest of students found with incriminating goods. Perhaps if they only referred students for treatment, rehab and counseling you might argue otherwise. But this was police activity that ended with at least one arrest. This is law enforcement resulting in involvement with the criminal justice system. Nothing more and nothing less. To say the administration was only looking to get kids off the wrong path whitewashes it.
orange mom May 07, 2011 at 04:55 AM
@ Mister Jones - I feel badly for you. Our kids are in serious need of help and you are defending their "rights" within a public school to be in posession of, or better yet to be selling drugs. Do you have teen children? Are you a teen child? Please clarify as you make so little sense. Do you realize that many kids are afraid at school...and yes I mean at the wonderful Amity. What are your thoughts on this?
Terri Miles May 07, 2011 at 08:15 AM
When a dog alerted to a locker or car, the student associated with that locker or car was brought out and only then was it opened and searched. No warrants were needed, because once there, the kids opened them up themselves.
Bob Crocco May 07, 2011 at 04:54 PM
More suprise searches should be done. If students bring drugs to school, then they must face the consequences if caught. I still feel the law should be changed and the names of students arrested for drugs should be disclosed in the newspapers regardless of their age. It's time to take a hard stance on this problem and parents need to take responsibility for their children's actions.
Sue Ellen May 07, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Bob Crocco - You are absolutely correct! Just as parents have been legislated regarding teen drivers, perhaps there needs to be a similar one for minor kids that get caught with, using and/or selling drugs. Criminal charges for both perhaps? There is considerable research that has shown that pot smoking is a gateway drug to other illegal drugs and drug behavior. Some of our kids get to 9th grade already using Heroin, Crack, Ecstasy, etc. - they are already "hard core" users and in some cases - dealers preying other vulnerable kids or making it part of the package to be "accepted" and "popular." There needs to be more community commentary and debate - some of it may get heated, but that is what you need for change to happen. Just don't know if BOW is ready for that yet - perhaps parents are too busy?
Mister Jones May 11, 2011 at 10:05 PM
C'mon Terri you think that's a consent search, with no coercion? Police with dogs saying open it up? No warrants were needed because the Supreme Court says so. That doesn't make it right.
Mister Jones May 11, 2011 at 10:28 PM
Let's be clear. I am not defending any right to possess or sell drugs. I am defending the right of our teenagers "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment and Article First, Section 7 of the Connecticut Constitution. I am defending the right of privacy. How would you feel if you were a teenage girl, embarrassed about her body, having police inspect the contents of her purse including "feminine products"? I am a parent of three, with one still at Amity, deeply offended by the trampling of our children's rights. This action was disrespectful of their privacy. I feel strongly that the school administration sets a very bad example by doing this. Plus, they put the school into a 2 hour internal lockdown, interrupting the education process, pulling kids our of class for locker searches, FOR NOTHING! Nothing was found in the lockers, but a dozen kids were falsely accused by being dragged out of class for the searches. Many kids are afraid? I bet they were, during the lockdown, fearing a bomb or that someone was going Columbine.
Bob Brown May 11, 2011 at 11:48 PM
Mister Jones, once the administration said 'We are in a lockdown mode. Teachers continue to teach your classes.' The vast majority (if not all) the students realized that this was not a bomb, gun, or intruder threat. The students have been trained that if there was a security risk, they'd be told to sit in the designated area. When the teachers were told to keep teaching, kids correctly realized that the dogs were searching the school.
Lisa June 29, 2011 at 02:16 AM
I don't live in your town, but I do read the news so I would like to make a comment to all these parents of teenagers. I am a mother of 2 boys who are now grown and have families of their own. While I was in high school drugs mainly pot was easily available to all. Well that has not changed and while you can make the comment of kids and parents must take responsibililty for their actions with that I agree. But do not be so judgemental because most likely your own children have or will try drugs at one point in their teenage years. So look within your own home and dont say those kids should be punished. It is harder to say when it is your own child. Be supportive, listen, talk and get them the help they need to say no!


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