The student news site of Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin.

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Two drug searches occur on campus

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Within the course of the past two weeks, two drug searches occurred at Homestead. An emergency hold and an indoor classroom search occurred on Thursday, May 5, and an outdoor parking lot search took place on May 11.

According to Principal Brett Bowers, the searches were scheduled beforehand, and the dates of the searches were based on police availability and a function of scheduling. In a typical school year, three to four searches are usually conducted.

On May 5, the school was placed under emergency hold, and an indoor classroom search occurred. According to Bowers, a wing of the school was randomly selected, and in the wing, five classrooms were randomly picked to be searched.

During the search, students and teachers in the five classrooms were asked to leave the room and stay in a nearby classroom while the dogs searched the rooms. The dogs and the students never came into contact.

After the search was conducted, all five classrooms were found to be clean.

On May 11, an exterior search occurred, involving the examination of student and faculty cars.

During this search, the officers brought the dogs through all Homestead parking lots and allowed them to smell the cars. The officers are not allowed to open the cars in any way, though the dogs can smell drug paraphernalia without opening the vehicle.

During the search, if a dog hit upon a car, the police then asked school officials to bring the student to the scene. From there, the school administrators would ask the student if the student consented to having their car searched. If students consented, school administrators were then allowed to search the car for any prohibited material, including drugs, drug paraphernalia and weapons.

The school and police officers ensure that the rights of the student are not violated. Therefore, if the student refuses a search of the vehicle, different steps must be taken. If the vehicle, legally, belongs to the parents, then the parents of the student are contacted and asked if they consent to having the student’s car searched. If the parents consent, then the school is authorized to conduct a search of the vehicle.

School officials have lower standards to conduct non-consensual searches than police officers. In the school setting, administrators must only have “reasonable suspicion” that illegal activity is being conducted on school grounds. No evidence is necessary to legally conduct a nonconsensual search.

Officers of the law, however, have a more difficult time conducting non-consensual searches. Police officers, for example, must have just cause, a higher standard.

Discipline consequences vary depending on various factors. If a student is caught with a small amount of marijuana and this is that student’s first offense, the consequences may be less severe than a student found in possession of a large amount of other drugs and a scale; the student might be intending to distribute the drug and would, therefore, face more severe consequences. Bowers was unable to comment about anything found during the May 11 search, but after the identifying five vehicles to search, the dogs found two of the five vehicles contained illegal items, none involving weapons.

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The student news site of Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin.
Two drug searches occur on campus