Hayden A chocolate Labrador retriever named Czar sent a clear message to Hayden High School students last week that drugs will not be tolerated in their school.
Hayden High School Principal Troy Zabel asked the Moffat County Sheriff's Office to do a sweep of the school Thursday morning. Sgt. Courtland Folks came to school with Czar, a drug-sniffing dog that spent about 15 minutes inside the school and another 15 minutes sniffing cars in the parking lot. Hayden police assisted with the sweep.
No drugs or contraband were found by school officials Thursday, but Czar made "hits" on four or five lockers, Hayden Police Chief Ray Birch said.
"There were also a few cars in the parking lot that hit," he said.
Birch said Czar likely picked up on a drug odor that had stuck to clothing inside the lockers and to the interiors of the cars.
It had been four years since the school conducted a similar sweep, Zabel said. While he said drugs in schools are always a concern, last week's sweep was proactive and not in response to any specific information about drugs in the high school.
"It gets the word out that we want to be safe," Zabel said.
Searching the school for drugs is one aspect of an aggressive program the school is employing to keep its students from using drugs. Parents of Hayden students also permit to having their children selected for random drug testing.
It is the responsibility of school officials to do physical drug searches, Birch said.
"By state statute they are allowed to search the school for the safety and security of students," he said. "We want to let people know there is such a program in place to keep schools safe."
The search was limited to school lockers and common areas of the school, Birch said.
Zabel said he met with the students whose property Czar had "hit" on.
"I spoke to the kids about making good choices about who they were hanging out with," Zabel said.
He also spoke with their parents.
Czar will return to the school in the future, Zabel said.