Westfield High School drug inspection

There are a variety of ways K-9 searches can be conducted.

Westfield News: An image of backpacks lined up in a hallway of Westfield High School on Friday October 29, 2016. (photo from Facebook)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WESTFIELD NEWS) – There was a lot of buzz Friday about a random drug inspection that took place at Westfield High School.

According to Westfield Schools Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski, at random times during the school year Westfield’s two high schools get police dogs searches to determine if there are drugs or drug paraphernalia on school property.

“This action is indeed routine across high schools across our area,” said Czaporowski.

There are a variety of ways police dog searches can be conducted.  Some districts opt to have students leave their classrooms and their belongings behind while the police dogs go into the classrooms yet others ask students to put their belongings in the hallway as Westfield did on Friday.

A statement issued by the Superintendent over the weekend said, “While police need “probable cause”, school administrators can conduct searches if there is “reasonable suspicion”.  The K-9’s were used to detect the presence of drugs, but the police did not search any students.  Per district policy, parents are always notified if their child was searched by a school administrator.  If police intervention is necessary, then parents are directly included in the process.”

Czaporowski went on to say, “Westfield Public Schools takes substance abuse very seriously. I am happy to report that nothing was found and no arrests were made.”

To make drug awareness and education of their effects more readily available, Westfield is participating in The Herren Project.

The mission of The Herren Project, according to their website, www.theherrenproject.org, is “to provide assistance in taking the first steps toward recovery and a life of sobriety, educational programs and resources to increase awareness on the signs of addiction and bring hope for a better tomorrow.”

Chris Herren, former professional basketball star, drug addict and founder of The Herren Project, will be speaking to students at both Westfield High School and Westfield Technical Academy on November 15th.  In addition to the speech and presentation, Westfield Public Schools is hosting a community event that evening at 6:30 p.m. as well.

From this, both high schools will be participating in the THP Project Purple Initiative, a national anti-substance abuse initiative of The Herren Project, launched to break the stigma of addiction, bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse and shed light on effective treatment practices.