EBR Schools set to randomly search schools for drugs and weapons using K-9 officers
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS) announced on Monday, March 20, that it will start conducting random searches at schools for drugs and weapons with the assistance of K-9 units.
Officials said the move is part of an effort to provide safe and secure learning environments for students and staff. They added the searches will happen at high schools and middle schools and will be based on security information from incidents that cause concern.
“We have issues at most of our schools with violence and drugs,” said Angela Reams-Brown from the East Baton Rouge Federation of Teachers.
Information provided by EBRPSS:
Law enforcement officers and school staff will announce that the school is on lockdown and will attempt to minimize any disruptions to our students or learning. In order to be sensitive to any natural fear of dogs, the K-9 officers will not physically engage students up close, and no staff or officers will physically touch students during this process.
“As sophisticated as law enforcement operations can be, this one is quite simple. We have an obligation to keep our students and our staff safe,” said Ben Lemoine, Director of Communications & Public Relations.
Officials added there will be no publicly published schedule for the searches and similar types of routine searches have been happening for several decades.
“They’re going to rely on information they get from the public. They’re going to rely on tips from students that attend these schools, from, teachers that work at these schools, and from parents whose students go to these schools,” said Brown.
School leaders emphasized that this is not meant to single out a specific school or a certain group of students.
“The first instinct is that they’re going to target all the African American schools. That’s not the case. They will be targeting any school that they receive information on that there is a possibility that students are there with drugs or weapons. So, that includes Liberty, Baton Rouge High, Istrouma High and McKinley High,” said Brown.
“When you think about all the things we do, the high-level strategies that we do with academics and great programs, none of that matters if our students and staff aren’t safe. So, when I say safety is our number one priority, it has to be. Which is why it is,” said Lemoine.
Lemoine said this new policy is in motion now.
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