Bay City Public School officials say they are on top of the effort to rid its five secondary schools of drugs, weapons and other illegal substances.
While administrators are willing to say what they found in two canine sweeps this year, they say they are not likely to announce - nor take to the school board or to outside law-enforcement officials - information on illegal substances found or students disciplined if officials don't think what is found is significant.
This school year, there have been two drug-sniffing canine searches - one in the fall and one on Feb. 21 - of Central and Western high schools, and T.L. Handy, Western and Eastside middle schools.
A total of 11 incidents were reported in both searches, said Martin Gottesman, director of student services for Bay City Schools. He said contraband found ranged from a beer can to hunting ammunition.
District officials didn't publicly report the findings because they felt 11 violations and what was found were not a significant total and amount, Gottesman said.
He said the situation would be different if there had been 30 students implicated and more substantial contraband discovered in the search.
"It's quiet because there are not a lot of drugs in our schools during school time," he said. "It was a pretty clean sweep of nothing."
The closest item to actual drugs found was a marijuana pipe with some ashes, Gottesman said.
Western High School had about seven cases and Central High School only had four, while the canines didn't pick up anything at the middle schools, Gottesman said.
Most of the students who were disciplined received a three- or five-day suspension, he said.
Bay City Schools contracted this school year with Grand Rapids-based Interquest Detection Canines to search the five secondary schools.
The searches are random and unannounced, said district Superintendent Carolyn Wierda.
"The whole issue, of course, is we believe our schools should be safe and drug-free," she said.
The findings of the searches are handled at the building level, said Oren Lusher, principal at Bay City Western High School. A list of what was found and the disciplinary action doesn't exist, Lusher said.
Instead, a note is made on the student's disciplinary file. Lusher said any substance or material found is treated like any other violation of the school's code of conduct. Substances can range from tobacco, drugs and alcohol to ammunition.
The liaison officer at Western, Deputy Adam Brown, works for the Bay County Sheriff's Office. He said the Sheriff's Office has not had any problems with Interquest or the school regarding the canines and any contraband to date.
The school's administration decides whether to notify law enforcement agencies of items found, Gottesman said.
"We planned it that way. We did not want (law enforcement) involved," he said. "(The liaison officer) would only be involved if there was a quantity of drugs or narcotics involved."
That quantity that would trigger law enforcement involvement would be determined by the school, Gottesman said.
"If you find a joint, you are going to confiscate it and discipline the student," he said. "If you find a pound of marijuana then, of course, we call the police."
To date, none of the students caught were referred to law enforcement agencies. All substances, whether the case is referred to law enforcement or not, are given to the school's liaison officer for testing and/or disposal.