Rockton Police conducts routine K-9 search at Hononegah


Mural at Hononegah High School: "Excellence in Education & Athletics"

A scheduled canine unit drug search was conducted at Hononegah Community High School about 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 15. A message from Principal Chad Dougherty said that during the routine search, students were only allowed to leave their classrooms when accompanied by a staff member. 

One student explained what happens during these searches: "We leave our backpacks in the classroom and then we leave the classroom and the dog comes in and sniffs our bags." This "search by smell" presumably covers other parts of the school, including lockers. But none of this student's friends use their lockers, he says, instead carrying everything they need in their backpacks.

At 10:43 a.m., the school called parents and guardians to inform them that the "hold in place" had ended.

In addition to Facebook and other means, Rockton Police announced the action using the Nixle notification service. They reassured residents that this was a scheduled K-9 search, not prompted by any complaints or suspicions ("There are no problems and the search should be concluded shortly. School will resume as normal."), and said they were assisted by area law enforcement agencies.

The Hononegah Student Handbook [PDF] tells students, "General searches of school property may be conducted at any time" and that "The building principal may request the assistance of law enforcement officials to conduct inspections and searches of lockers, desks, parking lots, and other school property and equipment for illegal drugs, weapons, or other illegal or dangerous substances or materials, including searches conducted through the use of specially trained dogs."

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