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No drugs found in surprise locker search

| Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2003

Police came up empty-handed Monday after a surprise locker search for illegal drugs at Carlynton Junior-Senior High School.

Two drug-sniffing dogs traveled the hallways with police starting at 8:45 a.m. in what was believed to be the school district's first drug sweep. The dogs, led by officers from the Allegheny County Sheriff's Department and Robinson and Crafton police, identified 29 lockers as suspicious.

Students and staff stayed in classrooms during the 2 1 / 2 -hour search. Students whose belongings were in the lockers the dogs identified were brought to their lockers and a search was conducted.

District spokeswoman Michale Herrmann said police assured school officials that the dogs are trained to detect even the smallest scent of an illegal drug. While no drugs were found in the lockers, she said at one point in the past the locker or its contents were exposed to some type of drug.

School board President John Meighan said the drug sweep is a sign that the district will do everything possible to provide a safe school environment.

"We were certain the police and dogs were capable of finding any illegal drugs, and the fact that they didn't find any was a demonstration that we are providing a safe and secure, drug-free environment," Meighan said, adding the drug searches will continue on an "irregular, unannounced basis."

School officials said recent talk of student drug use, and drug-related deaths in the Carnegie area last summer, prompted the search.

During the winter break, permanent locks were installed on 1,000 lockers in the building, and a letter outlining the district's new locker and search policy was mailed to students' homes.

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