Strouse: CM drug sweep a success

By JIM RUNKLE

jrunkle@lockhaven.com

BALD EAGLE TOWNSHIP — On Oct. 20, the Clinton County Sheriff’s K9 Unit visited  Central Mountain High School to look for drugs.

At Thursday’s  Keystone Central School District meeting, Clinton County District  Attorney Dave Strouse told the school board the search was a success on several  fronts.

The presence of the dog and  handler at the local high school sent a signal to students that illegal drugs were not going to be tolerated Strouse said, and sent a message that the district attorney and school administration are on the same page when it comes to this critical issue.

“This is a great partnership,” Strouse said. “We’ve engaged in a partnership that grew  out of  an outreach from the district attorney’s office, to address the  problem of drug abuse and drug possession.”

To the credit of the  students, he said, no contraband was found. The program, however, will continue at Central Mountain, Bucktail Campus in Renovo and  at the middle school to underline just how serious school officials are taking the situation.

Strouse said random sweeps are common in other school districts and are considered an important tool in discouraging drug abuse.

The Central Mountain effort was the first sweep and occurred at the request of the administration.

Acknowledging the comments of concern expressed earlier in the meeting by a parent, who suggested some changes to avert panic, Strouse said sweeps are “a scary procedure,” but added that, with the lessons learned in this first try, future sweeps need not be traumatic endeavors.

He noted that no individual student was searched, and common areas turned up clean.

“The idea is to make these more frequent and completely random,” Strouse  said, “and  making them totally random is the best way to proceed, so we are not going  to provide information to students, parents or teachers beforehand. The  purpose of this is to deter, not penalize, and to make our schools safe … I am pleased that there were no hits and no illegal drugs were found.”

Strouse said he was looking forward to continuing the efforts and hoped that the school board would support the random sweeps as the district and schools moved forward.

On the day in question, a canine team went inside and was spotted working around the exterior of the building, 64 Keystone Drive, Bald Eagle Township.

A message from Superintendent Kelly Hasting’s office was sent out by Communications Coordinator Angela Harding about 10:30 a.m. saying, “This morning, the Keystone Central School District, in conjunction with the Clinton County District Attorney, held a lock-down drill at Central Mountain High School that included a drug dog search.

“This partnership is part of the Keystone Central School District’s continued effort to keep our schools safe and drug free,” the statement continued. “These unannounced drills are an important part of the district’s overall safety and security plan. The health and well-being of our students continues to be our top priority. We appreciate the support from District Attorney (David) Strouse, and from the communities and families.”

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