The Amity Board of Education last night discussed but took no action on the change of verbiage in its policy regarding student searches by drug sniffing dogs.
Any time an Amity policy is changed, the topic needs to be on a school board meeting agenda twice before the board can take action. Since there is no meeting in July, and August is a month of many vacations and other obligations, the board decided to hold off until September to discuss the policy change again and perhaps then vote.
"I want to make sure we understand that we are not promoting searches by drug-sniffing dogs," said board member Tracey Lane Russo.
On May 3, so that police could comb the building for drugs. Nothing was found.
The Amity Board of Education’s policy committee last month agreed to recommend to the full board a change in policy verbiage that would allow drug-sniffing dogs to sniff students when there is suspicion of drugs. The proposed change would have the policy more in line with state law regarding personal searches.
“The current policy is inconsistent because it absolutely prohibits a search by dogs, while state law permits it,” Russo said in May. “If a student knows he can never be sniffed by a dog, he’ll put the drugs on his person and sit in the classroom where it’s safe.”
Board member Sue Cohen was the lone naysayer at the committee meeting. The minutes to that meeting are here. She disagrees with the use of drug-sniffing dogs in the schools: "I think it's disrespectful to students," she says. "Most kids are here to learn, not to be under the threat of being policed by dogs."
Her fellow board member Thomas Hurley explained the process in this video.
"Individuals should not be searched except as permitted by law," Hurley said.