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No drugs found in surprise search of high schoool

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  November 11, 2011 03:43 PM

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A surprise search of the building and grounds at Hingham High School Thursday morning turned up no drugs, police and school officials said.

Ten police dogs and accompanying officers from surrounding communities came out to search the parking lot, student lockers, and even some classrooms, where students were asked to leave their bags behind and stand in the hallway while their belongings were searched.

It’s the third time the school administration has carried out a random drug search at Hingham High, and is both a response to drug use as well as a preventive measure, Principal Paula Girouard-McCann said.

“Any time you deal with teenagers, drug use is always a concern, but it's proactive and precautionary as well,” she said. “We take it seriously, and do everything we can do keep it from being in school. We have educational programs and preventative programs such as this.”

Dogs and police entered the building around 9:20 a.m. Thursday, and were out by 10:10. At the time, no students were allowed out of his or her classroom, and students in the hallway were taken into the nearest classroom.

Teachers continued teaching throughout the search, and the procedure was complete before the class period was over.

Although no drugs were found this time around, Sargeant Steven Dearth with the Hingham Police said that the previous search in May did turn up some drugs.

“One person was charged criminally for intent to distribute marijuana. He had seven bags of marijuana in a backpack. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana. One citation was also issued a civil citation for possession of marijuana (less than an ounce),” he said.

“But they swept the school and parking lot and today there were no drugs found,” he said.

According to the student handbook, anyone found with drugs has an automatic five-day suspension from school. From there, students may face an expulsion hearing with the principal.

The tactics differ every time there is a search, and Girouard-McCann said there would be future searches this school year.

“It was planned at request of the school,” Dearth said. “The whole element is to be a surprise, to see what it is in the school, and try to prevent it from coming into the school. It’s a deterrent as well.”

According to the principal, the response to these types of procedures has been a positive one.

“I had one e-mail that was very positive. The last time we did it I had several e-mails that said thank you. People have been supportive of it,” she said.

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