School Climate & Safety

Drug-Dog Searches May Be Expanded Under Hawaii Policy

By Linda Jacobson — November 27, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

If Hawaii residents are like the state school board, there are likely to be some pretty mixed opinions on a plan to let trained dogs sniff students’ lockers for contraband even if principals don’t suspect that weapons or drugs are on campus.

The policy shift, which requires Gov. Linda Lingle’s signature, was adopted Nov. 1 on a 7-5 vote by the board. Over the next few months, the board, which governs the statewide school district, will gather input from the public on its decision.

Existing rules allow school officials to permit the canines to inspect common areas, such as cafeterias or hallways. Interest in changing the rules came after a dog detected drugs at three schools in Maui earlier this year through a pilot program. Gov. Lingle, a Republican, has said she favors the change.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Hawaii. See data on Hawaii’s public school system.

But concerns have been raised over whether officials would use the power appropriately.

“There will have to be safeguards that limit this,” said Greg Knudsen, a spokesman for the state education department. “But when it comes down to a matter of whether we need to remove drugs, alcohol, or firearms from school campuses, then I think everyone is in agreement.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, however, opposes the plan. And others say they would rather the state focus on drug prevention.

Valerie Sonoda, the president of the Hawaii PTSA, said the organization has been supportive of a canine-detection program, but described the search and seizure of students’ personal belongings without cause as “barbaric.”

A federal appeals court has not ruled on the issue. In a 1999 case, a federal court ruled that reasonable suspicion is required in order to sniff a student directly, although not for random searches of lockers or cars.

The ACLU also has been busy preparing a lawsuit against the state over a provision in the contract with the teachers’ union that requires randomized drug testing.

And in a letter to Gov. Lingle last month, the ACLU demanded an end to the drug testing of teachers. According to Graham Boyd, the director of the ACLU’s Drug Law Reform Project, the governor responded saying she does not intend to stop the program.

A version of this article appeared in the November 28, 2007 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Rising Reports of School Violence Are Pushing Teachers to Want to Quit
Educators are being met with violence and aggression from various sources, and it's causing them to consider leaving the profession.
10 min read
Edyte Parsons, a teacher in Kent, Wash., pictured at her home on July 19, 2024.
Edyte Parsons, a teacher in Kent, Wash., pictured at her home on July 19, 2024. Parsons, who has experienced several instances of physical and verbal aggression while at work, has thought about leaving teaching.
Meron Menghistab for Education Week
School Climate & Safety Opinion ‘We Cannot Stop a Bullet’: A Principal Demands Better Gun Laws
When guns are easily accessible, not even the Secret Service can prevent every threat. Why would we expect teachers to do better?
Tracey Runeare
5 min read
A tangled jumbled line leads from a moment of impact to a clear conclusion: a ban symbol.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School Climate & Safety Roads Around Schools Are Unsafe, Principals Say. Here's What to Do About It
Traffic conditions aren't fully within school leaders' control. But there are still steps schools can take to help students arrive safely.
4 min read
Focus is on a flashing school bus stop sign in the foreground as a group of schoolchildren cross a parking lot with the help of a crossing guard in the distance.
School Climate & Safety Video Should Teachers Carry Guns? How Two Principals Answer This Question
One has two armed school employees. The other thinks arming teachers is a bad idea.
4 min read
People hold signs in the gallery against a bill that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session in the House chamber on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.
People hold signs in the gallery against a bill that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session in the House chamber on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.
George Walker IV/AP