With this concern, the committee decided to start the effort to stop drug-sniffing dogs in schools.
“We believe that these suspicionless dog sniffs undermine students’ privacy rights, are not effective at deterring drug use and will likely exacerbate already extreme racial disparities in discipline in the district,” the letter said.
Dorosin said the letter references several studies that indicate the use of dogs to search for drugs is not always effective.
“We highlighted that there have been numerous studies demonstrating that the high rates of false positive alerts by these dogs,” Dorosin said. “We emphasized that bringing dogs into schools treats every student as a criminal suspect.”
The letter also referenced a 2010 study from the University of California-Davis that said drug-sniffing dogs falsely detected weapons or illegal substances 123 times out of 144.
Dorosin said these searches that turn up no illegal drugs cause students to be subjected to embarrassment.
“For students, who these dogs do alert to, who are searched, are then subject to the embarrassment, the humiliation and the fear of being searched,” Dorosin said.
Baldwin responded with a letter to the committee stating the district would suspend the practice of using dogs for "suspicionless" drug searches. Baldwin also noted that the schools will use resources that are available to help with preventing the escalation of drug use.
“I am hopeful that our education, mental health and other initiatives—and the constant vigilance of our teachers and staff—will prevent an escalation in drug activity on campus,” Baldwin said. “We will continue to monitor and utilize strategies and resources available to us in the event that there is an escalation.”
Jeffrey Nash, the executive director of community relations for CHCCS, said students can take advantage of resources within the schools that can help prevent the escalation of drug use.
“They’ve got different initiatives, clubs, activities and things in the curriculum that are resources for students,” he said.
Baldwin emphasized in her letter the schools are ultimately concerned with drug use and how it affects the students’ well-being.
“Our school principals, teachers and other staff constantly see the health, school and life problems that drug use creates for our students,” Baldwin said.