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Police dog finds drugs in two student cars during search at Natick High School

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  March 12, 2013 05:47 PM

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A drug-sniffing dog found illegal drugs in two cars in Natick High School's student parking lot during an impromtu search today, according to Natick Public School officials.

Natick High School principal Rose Bertucci said both cars belonged to students, who were called down and asked to open their vehicles for a search. Drugs were found in both, but Bertucci declined to comment what type of drugs they were.

"When the dogs alert on a car, that gives us cause to search property on school property," Bertucci said.

School administrators are working with the students' families, and that the students would be disciplined "in protocol with the student handbook," Bertucci said.

The school's punishment for finding illegal drugs is three to five days of out-of-school suspension. But in some cases, the punishment could be lessened with drug abuse mediation, or could be heightened to expulsion, depending on the circumstances, Bertucci said.

The dog searched the school's common areas and three parking lots. During the 30-minute search, students and teachers were instructed to stay in their classrooms and continue with their daily lessons.

The dog did not find anything inside the school.

In November, the Natick schools administration sent letters home to parents stating that the school was planning to use police dogs "as a proactive step to promote a drug-free school environment."

The letter says that the school has the authority to open school lockers if the dog alerts them, but did not say if that authority carried over to vehicles parked on school property.

The schools also cited a recent MetroWest Health Foundation survey that reported one in four high school students said in the survey that they had used marijuana in the past 30 days, and 8 percent reported using marijuana on school property recently.

However, Bertucci said she viewed today's search positively.

"To find only two alerts in 1,400 students, I think that says a lot about the students and staff," she said. "Given what they find in other schools, we were very pleased."

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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