By Hannah Curran, Editor
TRUSSVILLE — The Trussville City Schools Board of Education discussed the first reading for canine searches at the schools that drug-sniffing dogs and law enforcement officers would conduct. Interim Superintendent Dr. Frank Costanzo explained that canine searches are allowed and part of the search process.
“It’s specifically for findings that we know are against the policy or against the law,” Costanzo said. “It’s so we can protect our students.”
Costanzo said that if the search is routine/random, then law enforcement will contact the school principals and the superintendent.
“We’re not trying to create a barrier,” Costanzo said. “We’re just doing that to make sure that we do it in light of the fact that there might be a variety of different things occurring in school and on a school day. We don’t search students, we don’t search them in the hallway, and we do not go into the classrooms.”
However, Costanzo said that if a canine “hits” on an object, then it creates “reasonable suspicion,” which allows law enforcement and administration to work together to search lockers or individual students.
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“There’s a purpose behind that, and it’s to protect our students and employees from anything that’s unnecessary and is a danger to them,” Costanzo said.
There are also occasions when principals and the superintendent can call for a canine search.
Costanzo said the canine searches are not to impede the daily routine of school life.
“We want to work with them cooperatively to ensure that we do things the right way,” Costanzo said.
TCS BOE Vice President Kim DeShazo asked if there was a schedule in place or a number of times a year that the canine searches were going to take place.
Costanzo said it’s something that can be discussed, but the canine searches work better if they are unstructured.
“It would defeat the purpose of what we are trying to accomplish,” Costanzo said.