In the coming weeks, Madison police dogs will be able to sniff through the halls, bathrooms and parking lots of the city’s middle and high schools if school principals suspect there may be illegal drugs there.
The School Board voted 5-1 Monday to allow the sweeps, which school officials say will help eliminate drug use and trafficking in schools and decrease violence. Annual evaluations will be conducted to assess the program’s effectiveness.
Supporters, including Madison Police Chief Noble Wray, said it could be an effective and color-blind tool as part of a strategy to keep schools safe. The dogs would search for marijuana, heroin and cocaine.
Luis Yudice, coordinator of safety and security for the school district, said one statistic that led officials to consider these searches was the 60 percent increase in student code-of-conduct violations since 2007 occurring because of drugs.