Drug-sniffing dog comes up empty at Hayden schools


— A drug-sniffing dog with the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office visited the Hayden Secondary Schools campus Thursday morning, but the dog’s nose did not lead to the discovery of any illegal substances.

During a random drug search at the middle and high schools, the chocolate lab sniffed lockers and cars for drugs while students, who were not told about the search in advance, remained in classrooms during a lockdown drill.

Two Hayden police officers assisted during the sweep.

Although the dog reacted to a few cars and lockers at the campus, school staff members did not find any illegal substances, Hayden Interim Police Chief Gordon Booco said.

Principal Gina Zabel said the search will help prevent students from bringing drugs to campus.

“It was a random search to ensure we have a safe school,” she said. “It is one of the most effective ways we can see whether we have any issues with drugs here in our building.”

Superintendent Mike Luppes added that the search was not a response to any specific incident or perceived problem with drugs on campus.

“Anything we can do to discourage our kids from using drugs, we are interested in doing,” he said. “Today’s activity was not to bust people. … It was to send a message we do not allow drugs on our campus.”

He said that before the school day ended he was contacted by three parents who opposed the random drug search and were concerned about the privacy of their children.

Luppes said the searches do not breach the privacy of students and aim to enhance their safety at the school.

A drug dog last was used at the Secondary Schools campus in a similar sweep in 2007.


BeCoolHoneyBunny 3 years, 9 months ago

Just gett'n the kiddies ready for life in jail I guess. Drug sweeps, lockdown, sounds like prison to me. Maybe they should do a strip search during study hall.

What a waste of time. I never had dogs sweep schools when I was young and my parents before me didn't either and their parents either. There were drugs back then, but it never seemed to be an issue.


Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Sniffing cars does not break privacy of students?

I know lockers and backpacks have been ruled to not require search warrants to be searched, but checking cars in the parking lot is certainly an invasion of privacy and may not have been legal.

Well, just goes to show why so many of the kids in that district decide to attend Steamboat schools.


Beavers 3 years, 9 months ago

Fire that dog! Or stick him out at the airport. Just let me know when he's on duty- I need to move some stash. Sorry, I digress... If the school taught to a better standard and got kids interested, maybe the administration wouldn't feel so paranoid. This sounds like borderline Gestapo fascism has now come a-schooling. There are more than one way to look at this sorry report. They're kids, you're teachers. Involve the parents. Fire the administration and get excited, better teachers. Ban tenure for poor performing lifers aka teachers. Maybe the kids aren't on drugs. Maybe the administrators are? The school system has been addicted to their underperforming and non excelling union for decades.


bill schurman 3 years, 9 months ago

This should give the "Commander" a free license.


bhad 3 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like everyday life in a city... My high school was searched at least once a week with dogs, and that was in the early 90's.


Jessica Horne 3 years, 8 months ago

I went to school in Hayden in the 90's and we had dogs come in and do passes then too. This isn't anything new. As far as the cars being searched, this happened then too. In fact, when we started a new year we were reminded by the administration that anything that was brought onto school property was fair game to be searched...including cars in the parking lot. Maybe we should be less concerned about the rights of MS/HS students and more concerned about their safety, that is what this search was about after all. And if you read the above paper it says they didn't find any illegal substenances...could be the same be said if this was performed in Steamboat, I highly doubt it. I'm not saying the kids in Hayden are perfect or all good kids that don't do drugs...but at least the parents should be able to feel better about sending their kids to school knowing other kids aren't as likely to be bringing drugs in....


Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

bhad, Yes, they can search the lockers and backpacks, but searching the cars appears to come right up against the legal limit. It would appear to matter how the student handbook was worded and exactly what Colorado courts have ruled.

Regardless, it shows an abysmal lack of trust by the administration in the students to do a search when there is no independent reasonable suspicions such as a credible report of someone selling drugs.

Just as a matter of principle of believing you have constitutional rights then it tells students they should not park in the school's parking lot, but on nearby streets.


jk 3 years, 8 months ago

So does the dog sniff out prescription drugs?


tcb 3 years, 8 months ago

Congratulations to the students in Hayden! I think the overriding message in this story is that NO drugs were found in the school or in students car. Good for you, Hayden students!


rhys jones 3 years, 8 months ago

Not to rain on anyone's parade, but I've seen "drug-sniffing dogs" walk right by it, and still miss it when repeated. I'm sure this goes to the training, and I wonder if a dog trained on shwag could detect AK-47. Scrips? No way.

I only hope the explosives-sniffing dogs at the airports are more effective, that, assistance, and search-and-rescue being three of the more creative uses for this generally noisy animal.


BeCoolHoneyBunny 3 years, 8 months ago

Just because something is legal doesn't make it right. Same goes for the opposite.

“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” - Martin Luther King jr.

How would you feel if at your work you were locked in your office so your things could be searched? Probably wouldn't go over to good.


Krista Monger 3 years, 8 months ago

How would you feel if your 6th grader is walking through hallways where older classmen have drugs on them or walking by unlocked lockers that have "stashes" in them?


rhys jones 3 years, 8 months ago

Let's go all the way: Send in dogs to sniff out guns, knives, Al Qeuda operatives, and big hairy gorillas -- all of those concern me more than a little pot. And are at least as likely to produce positive results.

I'd be concerned that my 6th-grader has led such a sheltered and naive life as to not know what's going on. That would be on me.

I AM concerned when Big Brother flexes his muscles just because he can, especially in light of the recent election results.

Unlocked stashes don't last long. Get real.


rhys jones 3 years, 8 months ago

I'll bet City Council would make us go through the petition process, to include a measure in the next election calling for FULL LEGALIZATION -- removal of all criminal sanctions, with no restrictions. They wouldn't cave to a couple of whiners, like last time.


Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

I would be concerned if there were 6th graders walking the halls where classmates had drugs and there were lockers full of drugs. But to say that means school officials have specific information that there are students with drugs and do not merely approve a random search that finds nothing.

I'd also be concerned if 6th graders understanding of constitutional rights were so unappreciative to accept violation of those rights on the justification that nothing was found.

To do a random search including parked cars simply because they can shows an active distrust of the students.

Oh well, I guess the school administration can now blame low CSAP scores on disaffected students.


bandmama 3 years, 8 months ago

I believe that by parking your vehicle on a school parking lot leaves one open to school regulations and rules. And let's face it, those darned old teenagers are sneaky little critters. (dripping sarcasm..) if you bring an illegal substance onto school property than you are an idiot and deserve to busted cold. If you dont want "Spot" to point at your locker, car or back pack, than leave the crap at home. Perhaps leading to intelligent thought process. "Gee, I dont want to get in trouble, so I wont do something that I know will get me into trouble" Wow, think about a youngster using their head for something other than "getting away with something". Sorry, but teens are teens. Some, NOT ALL need to be distrusted to a point. It is called being a parent. Always on guard. If you are not? Ya kind of drop the ball. It's our job. Was there any probing going on? Dont think so. Now THAT would be an invasion of privacy. HAHHAHAAA!!!


sledneck 3 years, 8 months ago

Any copies of the Constitution or Bible turn up in the search?


mtroach 3 years, 8 months ago

Sled the bible is banned from schools. It's message is more dangerous than drugs. The constitution is considered history and thus ignored.


sledneck 3 years, 8 months ago

Oh, I see. I guess we can expect our kids to learn history by repetition.


AlphaTeam 3 years, 8 months ago

Just comes down to getting the kiddos use to seeing drug dogs and law enforcement going through their stuff. Getting groped at the airport, groped at NFL games, illegal roadside searches. Cops in full riot gear handeling and arresting unarmed protestors. If you start early on them they won't think it's wierd that the police are watching and searching them wherever the go. It will become more and more accepted and eventually all of our rights will slowly be surrendered because no one will ever know they existed. All of this sold to us in the name of safety, anti-terrorsim, and patriotism. Very sad.


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