Santa Paula Times

Santa Paula Union High School District looking at using drug-sniffing dogs

December 15, 2010
Santa Paula High School

Both Santa Paula High School and Renaissance High have seen an increase in marijuana and other drug use on campus, and the District Board of Trustees directed the staff to investigate the use of drug-sniffing dogs.


“After talking to our cabinet and our chief security officer, we thought it would be a good idea to really get serious about looking at the idea of using drug dogs on both campuses,” SPUHSD Superintendent Dr. David Gomez told trustees. The district has a list of four companies for the board to look at.

SPHS Principal Paul Marietti said there has been a significant increase in drug use, probably because of the availability of medical marijuana. “When bringing dogs onto a campus to search for drugs it’s not an easy decision,” he told the board. “It’s not an easy decision and you have to weigh the costs and benefits of such a decision.”

Marietti continued, “I am not an advocate of allowing dogs to search students. I am an advocate of allowing them to search rooms, lockers, parking lots and common areas.” He said one positive impact of the use of drug dogs is it can alert parents to becoming more aware when their children may have a drug problem or are involved with drugs.

Marietti said there are legal implications for students caught using drugs. These include conviction records, restrictions on federal funds for college, and future employment.

“These are all things we don’t want to happen to our children,” Marietti added. “This is not about catching kids doing bad things. This is about saving Santa Paula High School kids. As principal I really want it to be known that that is the sole purpose of this. They’re our kids, and their parents deserve and our community deserves safe schools.”

The issue will come back to the board, probably at next month’s meeting.