Police officers, drug dogs and an adminstrator may search lockers, and when a dog lies down, that means there are drugs. (Photo by Cristina Vasquez-Muniz )
After a year of using the drug dogs, school officials will again use them for the 2010-2011 school year.
“High schools across the country are having issues with drugs; it’s not just Webster,” said Officer Eric Weimer. “Marijuana, prescription drugs and heroin are being showed as on the rise in Webster. Evidence of heroin is being shown everywhere in Webster, St. Louis and even the country. The entire country is on a heroin epidemic.”
“Heroin isn’t being seen just in Webster or just in Kirkwood,” said nurse JoAnn Nestor. “It’s all over St. Louis. There are more pure forms of it, along with heroin being cheaper. Those who aren’t willing to stick needles in themselves, now have non-injectable forms that they’re more willing to do.”
Marijuana, prescription drugs, heroin, alcohol, attention deficit disorder medications, neurotic pain relievers and over the counter medicines are among some of the most commonly abused substances in America, according to Nestor.
At WGHS being found with drugs and/or alcohol is very serious. A first infraction includes suspension for a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 30 days, parent and law enforcement notified, a drug and alcohol assessment and at least four sessions of either Alcohol Anonymous or Neurotic Anonymous. A second infraction includes a minimum suspension of 90 days and a maximum of being expelled, with parent and law enforcement notified yet again.
“The consequences are still the same; though with harder drugs, they might be stiffer. Certainly, the law punishments would be harsher; it could elevate the punishment from a misdemeanor to a felony,” said Weimer
The dogs are passive and will lie down when finding drugs, search both parking lots and the lockers with an administrator.
“Students are aware that we’re serious, and they know the possibility that they could get caught if they bring drugs to school in their lockers or their cars,” said assistant principal John Raimondo.
“There are things in place like a crisis counselor, a school social worker, and we’re working on bringing awareness curriculum, with things like assemblies. We’re doing a lot more to catch drugs in the school as well. When students cut, we search them. With our drug level at an unacceptably high level, that exceeds the national level, kids and parents are concerned. Where drugs are sold, or there are drug wars going on, that’s unsafe. We want Webster to be a safe place, where everyone feels safe, with no drugs,” Raimondo said.