Why Random Drug Sweeps Should Be Expected

Drug-sniffing+dogs+make+their+way+to+random+classrooms+as+part+of+a+MUSD+program.
Drug-sniffing dogs make their way to random classrooms as part of a MUSD program.

Drug-sniffing dogs make their way to random classrooms as part of a MUSD program.

Drug-sniffing dogs make their way to random classrooms as part of a MUSD program.

Cheyenne Yodong, Opinion Editor

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A typical school day turns unconventional.

The knock on the door draws your attention away from studying.

It’s 8 a.m. and you and your friends look up from the Psychology textbooks.

Stop what you’re doing, the class is told.

Leave your jacket or sweater at your desk.

Then two dogs and their handlers enter with a vice-principal.

Then you stand outside the classroom and wait. The next five minutes seem longer to you.

The dogs are sniffing for drugs, in your backpack or on your clothes you’ve left behind.

Once the search is clear, you go back in, maybe crack a few jokes, and continue as if it never happened.

This is a real-life atypical scene that played out on campus.

Then again, maybe it’s not too far off from a typical day somewhere in the Manteca Unified School District, after all. And that is by design.

Every year, each Manteca Unified district campus receives two random searches that cost a reported $12,000 overall. That breaks down to roughly $200 each, considering that there are 30 campuses that have to be searched annually. Already, Weston Ranch has had at least two of these random sweeps this year.

But just how is a class chosen at random for a search? Not all classes are searched every day, for obvious reasons. So, how is that determined?

And how effective are these canine-led crash landings in classrooms?

Weston Ranch Vice Principal Dave Smith said, “I can’t speak on if it’s been successful or not, but the class searches are random. That’s the company’s protocol.”

And although students have differing opinions on the practice, some like Supreet Sandhu (’18) believe the practice of random sweeps can benefit the Weston Ranch.

“I do think they are necessary because if there are drugs that teachers don’t know about, and there happens to be illegal drugs lying around, we wouldn’t want it to be framed on us.” Sandhu said.

“I don’t think they’re really that helpful,” Sandhu said, “but they are really necessary.”

Recent data reported in the April 4 issue of the Manteca Bulletin supports the benefit of these sweeps with began in 2015. Since that time, according to MUSD, drug and alcohol suspensions at district schools dropped 20 percent in the first year after the program started.

Manteca Unified Director of Child Welfare and Attendance Rupe Bhatti told the Manteca Bulletin in the same issue in an article entitled, “Zero Tolerance,” that the sweeps were “working as a deterrent” to keep drugs out of district school.

Based on how district officials, administrators and some students view this data, we all should expect to see more random sweeps on campus in the future.

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