TISD Battles Growing Drug Problem - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/1/03 - Tyler

TISD Battles Growing Drug Problem

Students and teachers won't know exactly when, but they can expect to see canines on campus more often than usual. TISD has hired a company called Interquest to bring in dogs to sniff for drugs. In the past several years, the district has brought in drug dogs two to six times a year. Now, school officials plan to up that number to at least 15 random searches, starting this school year.

"We don't so much say we can control what kids do outside the school setting, but from 8 to 4, we certainly can, and that's what we're going to try to do," said Roland Hernandez, Ph.D., TISD deputy superintendent.

Two teams of an inspector and a drug dog will search lockers, classrooms, parking lots, and other areas on school grounds.

"Those who bring it or those who deal it, of course, they're going to be very disappointed. But then you have those students that focus strictly on academics and want that safe environment. Parents that want that safe environment, they don't send their kids to school to be exposed to that kind of stuff," said Hernandez.

District officials saw the need for a new prevention program after looking at the number of drug possession incidents since the beginning of the school year. It averages out to about one case a week district-wide. TISD is not only bringing in drug dogs to search high-school and middle-school campuses. They're also using Interquest to educate students in elementary- through high school on how to stay drug-free. TISD says it plans to start the new drug prevention program as early as this month. District officials say money for the program will come from the federal "Drug Free/Safe School" fund.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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