Why is the district bringing canine units into the schools?
Olentangy Local Schools is working in a cooperative partnership with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office to conduct random walk-throughs of all of Olentangy’s high schools and middle schools. These walk-throughs are a proactive initiative in order to ensure that our schools remain safe learning environments, not a response to any perceived increase in disruptive or dangerous behavior.
What are the canine teams looking for?
These canine units are specifically trained to alert on the scent of illegal drugs or drug residue. This does not mean that Olentangy Local Schools suspects any students of drug use in our schools. Again this is a proactive initiative designed to promote a drug-free learning environment.
Are you doing this because we have a drug problem in our schools?
No. The canine units are being brought to Olentangy Local Schools as a proactive measure, not in response to any perceived increase in disruptive or dangerous behavior. Olentangy wants to maintain safe learning environments where students are focused on education.
Does the district not trust the students?
This issue is about maintaining safe learning environments for students and has nothing to do with trust. Olentangy Local Schools cares about all students and is continually looking for proactive ways to keep our schools safe.
Do other schools do canine searches?
Yes, many surrounding districts including Westerville, Dublin and Hilliard city schools also partner with various law enforcement agencies to conduct canine walk-throughs. Just like Olentangy, these districts made this choice to be proactive and encourage good behavior at school.
Will they be searching all middle schools and high schools?
Yes, the canine units have been conducting walk-throughs of the locker areas and parking lots at all three of Olentangy’s high schools since the 2009-10 school year. The units will begin walk-throughs of the middle school locker areas during the 2010-11 school year.
Is this a one-time event in our schools?
No, it is part of an ongoing effort to maintain safe learning environments for our students. The district has conducted canine walk-throughs in the past and is currently using the searches as an educational experience for all involved.
What areas of the school will the canine teams be searching?
An Olentangy staff member will accompany each canine team through the locker areas inside the schools and the student parking lots (at the high schools). Students will remain in their classes during the walk-throughs and no canine team members will enter classrooms. If a dog does alert to a particular locker, then an Olentangy employee will search that locker and one locker on either side. This is done because air ventilation systems can cause scents to “drift” to another area from where the actual scent originates. In the case of an alert to a vehicle in the parking lot, the high school student will be called to the office to open the vehicle so that a school employee may conduct the search.
Will the canine teams be searching students?
No, the canine teams will only be searching lockers and parking lots. The canine units will not search students.
What is the financial cost to the district?
There is no financial cost to Olentangy Local Schools. The canine teams are being provided free of cost to the district by the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and the other law enforcement agencies involved. This is a regular service that these agencies provide to Olentangy and other area school districts.