HHS Planned narcotics canine sweep

Here we go again, the schools teaching the students that everyone is presumed to be a criminal and that they must be "checked and verified" to prove that they are not, all the while our history classes are also being taught about the apparently, in the mind of our educators at least, archaic and irrelevant legal principal of presumption of innocence. You know, the one that is codified by the 14th amendment of our Constitution. And before the retort comes out that what the schools are doing is perfectly legal (it is) I'll add that just because something is legal doesn't make it right.

To our HHS administrators, and to the LE's that are participating in this ridiculousness, I'd like to remind you of the definition of presumption: "an idea that is taken to be true, and often used as the basis for other ideas, although it is NOT KNOWN FOR CERTAIN".

Shame on you I say! For the sake of satiating your own desire to "known for certain" you are once again stooping to a level that is just as disturbing as the drug use that you are claiming to address. Truly, shame on you. As educators you all should know and understand the ramifications of what you are doing. How utterly disappointing this is.

justintime justintime
April 10th

This is just a little parade for the police department so they can show the community how much they, apparently, care about the current opioid crisis.
Nothing will come of it - just like the ones they did when I was in high school.
They'll probably nab some kid who has a small amount of pot, call themselves heroes, and make a Facebook post about it for brownie points.

HarmonySun HarmonySun
April 10th

Shouldn't be a big deal if you are not guilty. Who cares if they do a drug sweep.

April 10th

I think it's great. They are children. They need to respect the law. It's great that they go in and do a canine sweep. Drugs should not be in school. Even if it stops one kid from continuing to smoke pot or whatever drug they find... it's all to protect our kids. Why is this a bad thing? We need to protect our kids.

youfriend youfriend
April 10th

"Shouldn't be a big deal if you are not guilty."

Not even to get into the MUCH deeper discussion based on that thought, how about I change just that sentance so you can understand easier.

How about - Shouldn't be ANY deal if you are not guilty."

Not a big deal, not a small deal- no deal.

Meaning you should not be stopped, searched, inconvenienced, in any way whatsoever if you have done nothing wrong. You should not sit back and let it happen to everyone around you either.

Papers please.

How is this any different than going through TSA security to board a plane or a metal detector to enter a building or stadium?

move already move already
April 10th

Josh, should I feel the same way when going to the airport? Why do i have to go through security if I have done nothing wrong? Am I presumed to be guilty? Or is it for the safety of the rest of us? It's the world we live in. Airport security, security at Disney World even!, DWI checkpoints, scans and pat downs going to sporting events. I have no problem at all if these sweeps weed out some of the drugs and even better, dealers in our schools. Who knows, maybe even detect a weapon on someone and prevent something really bad from happening.

In order to preserve our freedom, all we need to do is check our privacy at the door.

Students should just sit in until each administrator’s office and belongings are searched. And then on to the police station; they have lockers, don’t they?

As students, we would protest all police state actions.

StrangerDanger StrangerDanger
April 10th

Because TSA is looking for bombs, guns or anything that will harm people and bring down a plane full of people. They can care less if you're traveling with drugs. That isn't their focus. Not to mention TSA is a federally funded organization deemed to protect the paying public when they fly.

These are renegade cops who are working like gestapos and employing fear and abuse of power to intimidate.

By all accounts it should be ok for the same officers to break down my door or my neighbors because of the need to search? How come they don't barge into the public library where children are to pat them down and sniff out the library?

I forgot Sam, drugs don't "harm people". So the paying public deserves protection but our children do not? There is a drug problem at the school and that is where they focus. I would bet my life if there were reports of drug trafficking at the public library, the police would be there. Besides, the argument was about being "presumed guilty". SO when it comes to paying customers at an airport it is ok to be "presumed guilty"?
The privacy of your home is different in that it is a private residence. Even so, if there is probably cause that there is drug activity then yes, they can barge down your door. And everyone can be searched. Even those who are innocent.

Ok then we'll see what the sweep turns up. Hopefully chock full of drug dealers and a wheelbarrow full of drugs. That's a lot of manpower on the tax payers dime I saw this morning.

Hopefully the teachers and staff aren't immune to said search. As a tax paying parent, I'd like to know we don't have any pusher teachers.

if anything drug sweeps at schools should be done more regularly. Get every bit of drugs out of our schools and away from our children.

Protect our Schools Protect our Schools
April 10th

I always find it funny (and not in a good way) the two different perspectives.
"We have a drug problem in our school and we refuse to do something about it"
"You are trying to fix a drug problem in our school and it's not fair. We are all innocent!"
Personally, with the drug sweep, there is no bad outcome. If they finds drugs and dealers then I am glad they got them. If they don't then I am relived that the school is clean and safe. But of course you will have people not happy with either. "WE HAVE OUR RIGHTS!"

"if anything drug sweeps at schools should be done more regularly. Get every bit of drugs out of our schools and away from our children."

Do you really think that school is the only place that children encounter drugs? It's a pretty good chance that most of these kids' own homes have many drugs in them. These would be both the legal and illegal variety.

Calico696 Calico696
April 10th

JB400: +++++++

Now if they only had dogs that could detect those on steroids....

dodgebaal dodgebaal
April 10th

Calico696, this is another type of argument that I think gets us nowhere. Whenever an issue is identified and an attempt is made to remediate, someone always says "but there is also a problem over there". Agreed but you have to start somewhere. These sweeps would not only help to keep drugs out of the schools and end of story. These would identify the players and lead to bigger fish hopefully. This would then track this down to the homes, dealers, other users, etc. It's much bigger than just taking their stash out of their lockers, slapping them on the wrist, and asking them to never do it again.

What a perfect opportunity to deal with the fellow student you hate. Just hide a $20 bag of something in his school backpack, and he'll be out of your school and out of your life. . . .

JerseyWolf JerseyWolf
April 10th

JB400 - Disagree. Learning right from wrong starts at home.

JW - So true. Sigh....

Calico696 Calico696
April 10th

It's in the homes; it's the parents' homes that need to be swept on a regular basis. These drugs can't make it into the schools if they are removed from the homes. If parents are allowing their kids to have drugs in the home and then bring them into the schools, they should forfeit their homes.

The Hackettstown Police should be going door to door.

Rrrr rrrr Rrrr rrrr
April 10th

The kids know about the sweeps and they keep there drugs in there pockets not there lockers… So unless the dog is sniffing every kid not going to find much ...

LibertyThinker LibertyThinker
April 10th

The real question is results. How many busts? Does drug use decline. For the loss of a right of privacy, I am guessing no change to drug use, few busts.

The rationale is students don’t own the locker. Well, I paid for the freakin locker and I say this is a BS privacy violation to search without probable cause.

Why not just test every student? Too far a privacy erosion?

Students should just quit school until administrators can fix the drug epidemic in their facilities to the point that illegal, or at least improper, searches without probable cause do not need to be conducted.

StrangerDanger StrangerDanger
April 10th

Oh well .... pros and cons to both sides

Kllover Kllover
April 10th

a drug search shouldn't just be randomly done. but if there is credible evidence that suggests this is appropriate, then i think this is okay.

I wonder how the teachers and administraters would feel if we tested them? I'm sure the teachers union would never allow it........just sayin.

wrestlref wrestlref
April 10th

It is our town and government’s responsibility to keep the school safe for all its students. I don’t view this as teaching our kids that they are presumed to be criminals, I see it as the police doing their job to protect all students in the school. Protect them from possessing or from being exposed to narcotics. Being in the recovery support community, I see the pain and devastation that narcotics and addiction cause. While these drugs may be in homes or other place, they ARE being brought into our schools and if walking the canines through the school saves even one kid from starting down a horrible path ...then I am all for this effort.

"a drug search shouldn't just be randomly done. but if there is credible evidence that suggests this is appropriate, then i think this is okay."


Calico696 Calico696
April 10th

I don't know how many drug sweeps are done during the school year. But I do know that every April is drug sweep month. Almost to the exact day just before spring break.

auntiel auntiel
April 10th

Stranger Danger,
If you paid for the locker, then you also paid for a piece of the athletic field. Mind coming over and mowing it? Excellent logic.

In general, most of the comments border on ignorance of school law, the reality of public school settings and how easy it is for kids to get drugs anywhere.

Have a nice day.

crazyjane crazyjane
April 10th

Youfriend wrote, "Even if it stops one kid from continuing to smoke pot or whatever drug they find... it's all to protect our kids. Why is this a bad thing? We need to protect our kids."

Good idea. I think they should do a thorough search of all our homes and possessions. it's all to protect our kids. Why is this a bad thing? We need to protect our kids.

I have no problem with it at all. Kids stupid enough to bring it to school deserve the consequences. They should get a stupidity award.

I am not allowed to bring drugs to my work place and we are tested randomly due to industrial and port areas we access.

Why would a student expect a school could not search their property.

We are not talking invasive searches here folks.

I think a better idea is to force people to live in glass homes so there is no way they can hide anything.

If you aren't doing anything wrong, why worry?

Rrrr rrrr Rrrr rrrr
April 10th

adderall is a hot seller in high school. not sure how one can police that

Crazy: I do pay to upkeep the school, tyvm.

If these searches were effective, then why do we still have to do them?

And no, I am not in favor of random drug testing in the work place either. Especially selective like give the drunks a pass and crucify the guy who smoked pot a month ago.

Except for positions involving public safety.

But the school locker searches are all about kids not having the same rights of privacy expectations as adults and therefore not having full citizenship until of age. We don’t randomly search the lockers of adults.

Amazingly, it’s one of the few topics both parties can agree on; both sides too.

StrangerDanger StrangerDanger
April 10th

"If you paid for the locker, then you also paid for a piece of the athletic field. Mind coming over and mowing it? Excellent logic."

If we ALL paid for the locker- then we ALL paid for the people mowing the athletic field.

Use your brain.

Calico696 - "Disagree. Learning right from wrong starts at home."
I agree 100% but not sure how that statement is relevant here. I am talking about finding where kids are selling or using drugs in a public place and tracking down to a home. Like someone said, we can't do a sweep of people's homes. Most will say and agree that we have a drug problem at the school, so we need to address it at the schools. if it can lead us to the homes then even better.

Rrrr rrrr - I also agree with you that it should be taught and disciplined at home. There are lots of things that "should be" but are not and not within ur control. So should we not enforce the law anywhere because it should be taught at home?

No, you should enforce the law when someone is found to be breaking the law.
If the cops have solid evidence a particular kid is breaking the law, then by all means, arrest that kid.

Why do you think your kid or my kid should be treated like criminals b/c someone else's kid is breaking the law?

Rrrr rrrr Rrrr rrrr
April 10th

One last comment, all of the nay sayers about enforcing this in the school by doing sweeps, do you have a solution or just sit back and say that's not right? We have a problem, what is the solution? Nothing? Because it should be taught at home and don't assume kids are guilty? Please, offer up a better solution. Until then, I am fine with a drug sweep every or any day of the week.

All in favor 110%. Thank you HPD. Should conduct these sweeps weekly! Any parent against these efforts needs a reality check. Drugs are illegal. Period.

It’s certainly legal.

school officials can inspect or even have a duty to inspect school lockers themselves or request an inspection by law enforcement officials (Zamora v. Pomeroy 639 F. 2d 662 1981 Tenth Circuit). A positive indication of narcotics in a locker thus creates a reasonable suspicion for school administrators. School administrators do not need a search warrant to search a locker or a student so long as reasonable suspicion is present (New Jersey v. T.L.O. [469 U.S. 325 1983]).

The K9 detecting the odor of narcotics creates the reasonable suspicion. Is it necessary or a good idea? Not sure how bad of a problem the school has with drugs. It certainly creates an unsafe environment that is not conducive to learning and administrators are tasked with safe and orderly operation of the institution and the students.

Thank you MomT!! If nothing else, it will show these kids that drugs have no place in the schools and they will be caught.

Skippy, to summarize the logic used by the court it's OK to do a suspicion-less search of "the air around" everyone's lockers in order to come up with the reasonable suspicion that is *required* by law to then search inside said locker. In the court's mind, searching "the air around" the locker isn't really a search, it's merely the result of taking a dog, specially trained to smell illegal substances, for a leisurely stroll in the school hallway past said lockers. If that dog, who is not really searching in their mind, happens to provide the suspicion needed then great. Sorry, but that kind of twisted logic defies logic lol. No, the law you refer to is written simply to give authority to do these kinds of searches. Immoral searches IMO, even if our laws allow it.

BTW, being submitted to a suspicion-less search is the reason I posted. A suspicion-less search can only be justified if one first believes that everyone being searched is a potential suspect. As I wrote above, the "non-search" by drug dogs can only be justified if one first believes in guilty until proven innocent, that everyone is a suspected criminal, and not the other way around as it is supposed to be in our society.

No, these searches are done for expediency only by those in charge who are frustrated that they can't just do what they want because our individual rights get in the way. I like the way another poster above put it: Search the entire school, including every classroom and office, and all personal property. The screams to be heard if that were the case would clearly demonstrate the truth of what I have just described here.

justintime justintime
April 10th

"One last comment, all of the nay sayers about enforcing this in the school by doing sweeps, do you have a solution or just sit back and say that's not right? We have a problem, what is the solution? Nothing? Because it should be taught at home and don't assume kids are guilty? Please, offer up a better solution. Until then, I am fine with a drug sweep every or any day of the week."

JB400, to be clear the event we are discussing occurred on the grounds of a public school where it is exceedingly easy to search (illegally IMO) a *large* population at a single time. IOW, it's easy. The only way to justify this mass-search is first convince yourself that everyone on the campus is a potential criminal. If you're OK with that view, and you are OK with teaching the kids that lesson, then fine. But please don't be surprised of others view things differently.

Law enforcement is carried out by police departments, is it not? In this case, the police were *asked* to come into the school by our administrators. The LE's did not necessarily have prior suspicion before walking in the door, the school administrators did. The administrators. With no direct suspicion of wrong-doing, only a broad-based suspicion (otherwise why do such a broad sweep). And what do they base their suspicions on? "It's a problem". OK, where? Who? Why? When? The administrators don't know and can't answer the questions, so they take the easy way out and treat the entire school population as if they are potential criminals. I'm really surprised that the obviousness of this conclusion isn't apparent to everyone.

So I'd flip you question around and ask why you think there is a drug problem in the schools? If no one is seen dealing or doing drugs, if no one can be identified through suspicious behavior, then how do you know there is a problem in the school? You don't really know, you're assuming based on the prevalence of drug arrests that happen outside of the school grounds. Mind you, last year when the search was conducted, if I recall correctly, there were zero infractions found (maybe one??). If my memory is correct, then I'd say your baseline assumptions are incorrect. Would you agree?

justintime justintime
April 10th

Anyone who is for these searches would quickly change their mind if the cops and dog came to their house, to their jobs, to their cars-

"I am fine with a drug sweep every or any day of the week." - "All in favor 110%. Thank you HPD. Should conduct these sweeps weekly!"


"Any parent against these efforts needs a reality check."

I'll respond- Any PERSON for these efforts needs to read history, especially other countries.

If you could bring back people that founded and/or fought for our country, from the beginning or even up through WW1 & WW2... they would set you straight.

It is sad that less than 100 years later the vast majority of our public has lost their way.

Think of the kids indeed- how about putting them to do chores, responsibility, to work, teach them the results of hard efforts and earning / saving. Discipline above and beyond a police presence...which honestly is no deterrent at all.

Bad kids just learn to hide whatever they are doing. Bad kids are going to be bad kids. Whether smoking a cig, making out with a girl, whatever... a police state isn't the solution.

Why is the school and children warned about the drug sweep? If you assume the kids are doing drugs, assume the teachers are ! Let's check them also ! Makes sense !
When you see kids drunk at football games , and the cops just keep walking , something is wrong ! But your right , it will be posted on social media how great things are!
Remember if you need drugs just go down town , the illegals will get you what ever you want, they are hands off , and they it know it!

I don’t disagree with you and as you know I’m a big supporter of the constitution - I’m not making any judgement for or against other than to say it’s been to SCOTUS and they’ve set forth a very low barrier.

Again - i have no clue if this is warranted or even a good idea.

I'm all for this, as long as they retest drivers over the age of 65.

dodgebaal dodgebaal
April 10th

I believe that the school is the property of the town, and therefore town officials can do with it what they please. If they believe that a drug sweep is in the common good, they are within their rights to have one. If you would like to not have your student subjected to such things you are free to home school them.

I can be as libertarian as they come, but this is not the police coming into your home or profiling you. I see a difference.

That’s fine JJB, but the lesson being taught is this issue and you summarized it perfectly: If those in charge want to make unsubstantiated accusations and choose the “verify” your innocence then you have no basis to argue. Suck it up and deal with it, right?

If that’s what you believe then is there a situation where you would not find the “we don’t trust you and you must demonstrate your innocence” to be acceptable, or is it acceptable in all cases?

justintime justintime
April 10th

I disagree with pretty much everything you said justintime. Just because we have TSA at the airport does not mean we suspect someone has a bomb or weapon. Just because there is a DWI checkpoint does not mean we suspect someone is driving under the influence. Just because I had to go through a metal detector at Disney World does not mean I am assumed to be guilty. Again, it's the world we live in and it is for our own safety IMHO. Some even suggest we should have metal detectors at the school itself. Again, not because we think all students are packing. I can go on and on about entering a sporting event, being patted down, etc. I would say 99.99999% of the time no weapons are found. And yet they keep doing this. Because that .000001% they find something is important enough to inconvenience all. I agree and I feel more safe. If the school sweep comes up clean, that's great. DO it again next month too. Hopefully it's still clean. I am no law expert and wouldn't pretend to be but I am doubting this is illegal to do.

MomT; legalize it and much of this problem will disappear as illegal revenues dry up.

Education always works better than confiscation.

JIT is correct IMO plus it is a slippery slope as folks, like many here, become tolerant of the erosion of our privacy, our liberty, all in the pursuit of greater safety. Suddenly random searches, capture of all electronic communications, government databases of gun registrations all become the norm instead of the exception.

Again, I ask. What are the results of the years of random searches? Is the school drug problem being solved? Sounds to me like “having lost sight of our results, we decided to double our efforts.....”

Do school searches even produce the desired effect of less students doing drugs?

StrangerDanger StrangerDanger
April 10th

There you go again JIT, making sense.

Here’s an example of impeding on a person’s rights with the presumption of guilt.

My daughter was bullied constantly when she attended HHS and the administration was well aware of it. One day at school she had a melt down, crying and very emotional. The school called me at work and told me to pick her up immediately to get drug tested, which I did. Unsurprisingly she tested negative. The doctor who administered the test told me that this was the norm for HHS, sending students to get drug tested was a weekly occurrence.

It was a horrible experience for my daughter to be treated like a criminal for no reason other than crying.

Big brother has gotten way to big and way out of hand.

Positive Positive
April 10th

Curious to get opinions on hidden cameras and random drug tests at the workplace.

Believe it or not I worked at a place that banned the use of table salt during breaks!

Positive Positive
April 10th

JB, you say we can't sweep people's homes. Of course we can. If we can do it in schools, we can do it in your home.

You are either for constitutional rights for all, or against them for all. You can't employ double standards.

MikeDiG MikeDiG
April 10th

Again , why are the kids told there will be a drug sweep? I guess to get the drugs out of there lockers! This is done every year, maybe they should search the teachers!

JB400, I’ve no problem with the disagreement, I only hope that we can understand each other.

Would it be accurate to say that your perspective is exception-based (we must *all* be treated as guilty in order to prevent the exception from occurring, the .000001%) while mine is from a norm-based perspective (everyone is presumed innocent and action should only be taken against those who do actual harm, aka those same .000001%)?

justintime justintime
April 10th


Your examples have one main difference than the school situation - Unlike the airport, a DWI checkpoint, or Disney World, those kids are legally forced to be sitting in the classroom. There is no choice by the students to be at school that day.

I will say this - while I generally disagree with the school doing broad-based searches, a lot (for me) depends on how this is done. If it is just a matter of walking a drug dog around the school halls while kids are in class, that's not so bad. Now, I've heard of schools that also make the students put their bags out in the hallway and basically lock them in the classroom while the school and personal property is searched and that is a big no-no in my book.

Positive - in re those type of controls or anything else - it depends on the type of employment - if you are a pilot - yes for sure. If you work at the library not so much. Can you kill or injure people if you are derelict in your duties - then yeah I can see it but it needs to applied appropriately

Yes skippy, that’s the problem it’s not applied appropriately, to the point where it impedes on the rights of others. Many times it turns out to be abuse of authority instilling fear and control.

No wonder we have a mental illness crises on our hands.

Positive Positive
April 10th

Agreed so I’m that case no I don’t agree with it

Skippy I don’t understand..

Positive Positive
April 10th

I think the legal benchmark for adults to be searched is probable cause. If you don’t have it, can’t prove it, the goods of the search are tossed.

The law allows us to revoke this liberty for student lockers in public schools. HHS does this.

The law also allows for random drug testing in the schools. Are we doing this yet? Could it be next? Why not?

Basically, for kids, we don’t need probable cause and can search and test at will. For real citizens, we have to explain probable cause or the reason we felt compelled to search or test. Paroled criminals are treated better than our kids. I believe there will be unintended repercussions of treating our younger citizens as criminals, guilty until proven innocent and allowed to be searched and tested at whim or will. For one thing, we normalize this erosion of our freedoms against illegal search and seizure. What’s next? For another, if treated like a criminal by big brother.....then.....what’s next?

StrangerDanger StrangerDanger
April 10th

Another big difference between sweeping school lockers and, say, a TSA checkpoint at the airport, is that student lockers are NOT entirely under the control of students. And, as someone else noted, above, those students are legally forced to go to school and are assigned lockers.

If you go to the airport, you (probably) dressed yourself in your own clothes, and you packed your own personal belongings in your own luggage. Although someone COULD slip something into your carry-on bag, without you knowing, there is a reasonable expectation that you are in control of--and responsible for--your own possessions.

A school student locker is much different. It is owned by the taxpayers--not the student. Most students don't meticulously search their lockers, before first using them, and it's possible that a former student hid some drugs in there. It's also not particularly difficult, to break into a typical school locker, and if I was going to deal drugs in school, I'd certainly want to store them in someone else's locker, rather than my own. And, of course, there is usually no way to know, for certain, who has master keys to the lockers. (Would YOU want to be charged for having drugs in your locked desk at work, if dozens of other people also had keys to it?)

So, even if the police DID find some illegal drugs, without additional corroborating evidence, it would seem illogical and unjust to charge the students. And even if a student was ultimately not charged with a crime, the mere fact that drugs were found and an investigation ensued could be enough to ruin a young person's future.

And then, there is the simple fact that drug-sniffing canines are not perfect. So, if you're a parent, do you really want to hear that police handcuffed and publicly arrested your 14-year-old daughter, obtained a search warrant, pawed through all of her personal possessions, read all of her personal correspondence, examined every one of personal photos, and then strip-searched her before locking her in a jail cell, all because a dog happened to bark in front of her high-school locker?

JerseyWolf JerseyWolf
April 10th

Glad the school and local police do this. However, I don’t understand why it’s public knowledge before it happens. This is a public place of learning that is a drug free school zone. There’s nothing to fear unless you are involved in hiding illicit drugs.

Excellent SD, very good points.

Positive Positive
April 10th

I was agreeing that unless there is a compelling public safety argument the intrusions you mentioned were over reaching and unjust

Might as well break the reality to these kids now, before they find out the hard way. We’re morphing into a fascist country. I have a friend, who lives in the projects, in Newark. I’d be stopped and searched EVERY time I went to visit or drop off a cd, book, whatever. Reason? I’m “in the wrong neighborhood”, and, apparently that’s considered “suspicious activity”. I’m white. Not allowed to drive or walk through certain PUBLIC places...depending on my race or what car I drive. Teach ‘em young....we’re not as “free” as we used to be.

Guilty-Remnant Guilty-Remnant
April 11th

that is a 'Terry Stop' (Terry v. Ohio 392 U.S. 1, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 20 L. Ed. 2d 889 (1968) )

The law does not require probable cause before a police officer can make a Terry stop, A police officer needs only “reasonable suspicion,” (see a trend?) - the Terry standard factors in that the police often will be wrong. Hence why it only allows for the collection of pedigree information and a cursory 'frisk' for officer safety and not a more invasive search.

Being of a different race / ethnicity in a 'known narcotics area' or 'high crime' area is suspicious and meets the standard.



"I think the legal benchmark for adults to be searched is probable cause. If you don’t have it, can’t prove it, the goods of the search are tossed. "

you are confusing fruit "poison" tree doctrine in the 4th amendment with the reasonable suspicion standard applied here.

"Basically, for kids, we don’t need probable cause and can search and test at will. For real citizens, we have to explain probable cause or the reason we felt compelled to search or test."

again probable cause is not the standard in the case of school administrators - see case law above - or for any person regardless of age in certain circumstances. a narcotics dog, or a Terry frisk do not rise to the level of a search in the eyes of SCOTUS and only 'reasonable suspicion' is necessary. if those actions are fruitful and the suspicion proves founded - it provided probable cause to move on to a full on search.

you are precisely as free as you have been for the past 300 years - from Terry

"The Ohio Court of Appeals wrote that "[t]he right of the proper authorities to stop and question persons in suspicious circumstances has its roots in early English practice where it was approved by the courts and the common-law commentators"

jnnjr, I have to disagree that these kids are forced to sit in this classroom by law. They can be home schooled or even allowed to drop out at the age of 16. But even if they are being forced to sit there, even more reason to make sure they are forced to sit in a safe, drug free environment.
I think this is all good, healthy discussion but so much of this "big brother is taking over" mentality that we are tying the hands of our law enforcement and others trying to keep us safe. Unfortunately there are bad people doing bad things out there. How we go about eliminating this is the debate but I would say in any case, someone's rights are going to be perceived to be violated. I'd rather be safe. I really don't think we can have total freedom and protection at the same time.

Justintime, I guess that depends upon your point of view. With your point of view there is no reason for the TSA, because by searching people before they get on planes you are presuming guilt and only the search will prove innocence.

I get the slippery slope with this, but I also believe that there are times for balance.

So did they find anything?

I also realize the teachers and staff cannot be searched due to their union contract agreements.

Agreed about the TSA, IMO it shouldn’t exist, at least in its current format. That’s not to say the job they do shouldn't be done, rather the responsibility for safe passage should be on the airlines - the government should participate in a supervisory/consultant role only. A reference was made to Disney security protocols earlier, the point being that Disney is a business and would likely not exist if they didn’t maintain a safe environment for its visitors. That’s how it should be all around, airlines included, with limited government interventions.

JB400 makes some good points, but their perspective assumes that everyone sees the same threats and in the same way. Personally I know we can never be 100% safe, ever, so there’s always the question of how much we should allow our lives to be controlled. I say allow the least control possible, others say to require a lot of control. All I’d ask is to look at the risks and weigh them against the statistically or data-driven known threat.

Back to the topic, a lot of the follow up comments seem to confirm my main point, which is that the schools are acting without suspicion and making assumptions as to the guilt of their students, then using LE as a tool to confirm their suspicions. Bass ackwards if you ask me.

Anyway, the beat goes on...

justintime justintime
April 11th

How about this....simple,...

How about the sweep inconveniences you but keeps 1 kid ALIVE, yea 1 kid doesn't od, 1 kid thinks because they almost got caught. YOUR DAUGHTER, SON, SISTER, BROTHER, NIECE, NEPHEW, one of them lives because you are inconvenienced!

selfish, selfish people!


There’s a number of facets allowing the search; public property, not private; public safety; and reasonable suspicion or probable cause - same things.

Point is Slippy that the last one gets blurred in a random sweep. If it’s random, where’s the reasonable. If it has a low return of conviction, then where’s the probable.

If this is true, then aren’t the students treated as second class citizens not able to exercise their 4th amendment rights under the Constitution.

But they are kids, parents accept the loss of liberty in the guise of safety. A guise because the program does not yield positive results. If it did work, we wouldn’t still be doing it year after year.

Slippery slope? The fact we conduct unreasonable searches just because they are kids is a first slip. Patriot act another.

StrangerDanger StrangerDanger
April 11th

Probable cause and reasonable suspicion are two very different thresholds and allow very different things.


As JIT pointed out - the police are invited to the school to perform the sweep and the narcotics K9s sniff for illegal substances - students do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the school and do not have the same protections.

“The Court's decision doesn't apply to public places or buildings (public and private) to which the drug dog and its handler are lawfully admitted. In other words, it is not a "search" within the context of the Fourth Amendment when a K-9 unit is invited into the school for a random drug search.”



And if we could save 1 kid, the police should be able to go into your house whenever they would like and search for anything that could harm your child, right? If it saves one child, the police should be able to remove a child from a house where the parents smoke, right? If it saves one child, the police should be able to pull you over and randomly check for drivers licenses and do a search of your car - especially if they see a car seat in the vehicle. If it saves one child, we should ban all swimming pools.

Ask the people in border states how they feel about the CBP inland checkpoints and being stopped and potentially searched EVERY DAY on your way to and from work - in case they can catch one illegal alien or the dreaded recreational pot smoker.

I'm sorry, but you are trying to base law on emotion and that is very noble. What is sad, however, is you see people expecting our government to abide by the constitution and having a reasonable expectation of privacy from the government as being selfish. You are certainly free to give up your rights at any point - I'm sure if a cop randomly pulled you over and asked to search your car, you would say "go ahead" and see nothing wrong with that encounter. That is perfectly fine if you choose to do that. I'll tell you what is selfish, though: expecting someone else to give up THEIR constitutional protections so you can feel "safe".

"I think this is all good, healthy discussion but so much of this "big brother is taking over" mentality that we are tying the hands of our law enforcement and others trying to keep us safe. "

JB, the police already have more than enough power to attempt to "keep us safe". In fact, keeping a reign on what the police can do (and subsequently tying their hand) is keeping us safe - from the government. No, I am not a member of the tin hat club, but there are plenty of police officers (not all, but many) that would think nothing of trampling over your rights in an attempt to "keep the citizens safe" - all because that cop thinks you are doing something wrong.

jnnjr, as I have been saying, I cannot comment on the legality and constitutional protection of this as I am no expert. I do agree with this practice though as I also made clear. I do understand everyone's point BUT we cannot lean on the constitution when it's convenient. I feel like we are abusing it at this point. I can't say for all of the folks here saying it's unconstitutional, but are these the same folks who scream and yell when someone kneels for the National Anthem. Not to get off topic here but that makes me as angry as anyone, but that is also their constitutional right. Freedom means freedom and not just what we agree with and proves our point. They have the right to kneel, burn the flag, etc. and we have the right to disapprove but cannot stop them.
My personal belief is that our constitution is almost taken as a challenge to some trying to test the limits of freedom by doing these things. Do we need some amendments?
Sorry to get off topic here but somewhat relevant.

JB - while I agree with you that while the constitution should especially be there when you need it, you cannot be willing to throw it aside when it suites your needs. Unfortunately, your kneeling example is not a great one, though. I agree with you that it makes me angry to see that, and I have just as much a right to verbalize my displeasure as they have to take that knee. BUT, the constitution does NOT protect those players from being punished by the team/league, just like the constitution would not protect me from my employer if I made derogatory comments about the people kneeling for the anthem. What many people forget is that the constitution only protections us from the government. I agree 100% that someone kneeling for the anthem, burning the American flag, etc. should not be put in prison for doing that. BUT, an employer has every right to fire an employee (especially in the case of the NFL) for doing something on company time that may make the company look bad.

Remember - freedom of speech/religion/expression is all freedom from the government intervening with. That doesn't mean freedom from all ramifications.

Bringing this back to the school case, the "free air sniff" by the dogs has been upheld by SCOTUS. People may disagree with its validity, but that is constitutional. Where you start bordering on the wrong side of the line is when the students are then held in the classrooms (ie. detained) or forced to be separated from their belongings so the dogs can sniff them as well. (I'm not saying that is what happened yesterday, but it has happened in the past.) That is a line that I think crosses into the unconstitutional.

The”free air sniff” is currently legal, and upheld as constitutional, but that doesn’t mean it’s right because it completely negates the constitutional restriction of illegal search and seizures. It’s essentially the same justification used for allowing the unfettered collection of meta-data from every phone conversation, email and digital interaction.

Meta data, like the tainted air around a locker, is simply a once-removed bit of information that can be connected via other means to the information that’s really desired (Constitutionally protected information). The once-removed bit is nothing more than a work-around that accomplishes the same thing as a direct search, but because it’s once-removed the claim is made that it’s perfectly legal to do. While that is true, those who justify and use the once-removed method clearly understand its purpose (to bypass the Constitutional protections), so in actuality the “but it’s legal” argument is just obfuscation of it’s real purpose. In layman’s terms, it BS lol.

justintime justintime
April 11th

You guys are out of your minds! It was a 50 min sweep of the school and parking lots including administrators cars as well. Who says anyone is guilty, it was a simple sweep performed not by Hackettstown police but by Warren county Sheriffs office. What is the big deal, did they say people are guilty? This thread started off so negative but I guess that's just the way it is on this forum. Maybe they should conduct a mental health sweep of everyone in the forum, a lot might not pass. Chill out and move on to something else you can be negative about.

j smith j smith
April 11th

I can't wait to see all of your names on the next BOE election ballot.


No action keyboard philosophers and apathetic ax grinders!

crazyjane crazyjane
April 11th

JIT, I have a different view of the free air sniff.
(For the record, I do have problems with dog searches since there is no records kept of false alerts, and some handlers will direct a dog to "alert" regardless of if the dog smells anything.)
I'm ok with the principle behind the free air sniffs as long as it is in public and a person is not held or otherwise detained to conduct the sniff. For example, if you are sitting at the airport and a dog is in the area and alerts to you, I'm OK with that. BUT, if the officer says "You, come here, I want my dog to sniff you/your luggage", I see that as a detention and would say no.

Unlike the phone metadata, there is other information/patterns that can be gathered from that data whereas the free air sniff is done immediately and no one is sitting there with a record book "just sniffed JIT's bag - smelled of garlic and gun powder" and next thing you know, the police are watching your movements for the next month.

You guys are out of your minds! We didn't say anybody was guilty. It was a simple sweep performed not by the regular police but by the Special Police. We just helped those Jewish people onto the train, so we can take them to a special camp where they will be safe. Chill out and move on to something else you can be negative about.

JerseyWolf JerseyWolf
April 11th

Well said JW.

Calico696 Calico696
April 11th

The same type operation was conducted this morning at Phillipsburg High. Evidently a county wide initiative, you're children weren't singled out or targeted!

April 11th

deviljet, you’re right: everyone was targeted as being a potential criminal. Thanks for sharing ;-)

justintime justintime
April 11th

“Evidently a county wide initiative, you're children weren't singled out or targeted!“

No, but all Warren County students were..

How does that make it any better that it wasn’t just one school but many? Actually I think it’s a lot worse.

Example: Sally slapped me, but she slapped Ellen, Harry and Sam also. At least I wasn’t singled out, so it’s ok.

What’s wrong is wrong.

Positive Positive
April 11th

They need to do this. Get them use to it. So when "their" children are padded down and wand at ever turn in life, they can say "your lucky they only checked our lockers". Our children will comply to what the government tells them. "It's what's best to save one child". No worries.

auntiel auntiel
April 11th

What should be taught in High School, and now apparently in middle school (as you can tell from this video) is what your rights are. Apparently only one of the two parties to this video knew. The comments about who you should lie to are a great lesson to teach.


dodgebaal dodgebaal
April 11th

They managed to nab one kid at P'burg HS.


Calico696 Calico696
April 12th

I remember older threads identifying HHS as a "druggie school" . Now I read that homes should be dog searched because that's where the drugs really are. I've also read threads complaining about taxes. Now, exactly who will buy your house after reading this thread??

Do we want drugs in our schools? If not, what strategy do you have?

Do we want drugs in our neighborhoods? If not what strategy do you have?

This thread is very much about individual rights. That's fine, but all of that doesn't change the drug problem.

April 12th

These Drug Sweeps should be done more often!! These Drugs are illegal and some addictive which can kill our children !!
Some of you are so opposed to the Sweeps !! REALLY ??

Skippy, I think we understand the law, that this is legal, it's just that on this one I disagree and feel it's time for civil disobedience.

You say: "Probable cause and reasonable suspicion are two very different thresholds and allow very different things." which is true at ground level but not so much so at 30K feet. One says common man assessment, factual, search is the result, the second says police assessment, factual, detention to be the result.

Not only at 30K feet do these look very similar, but when has a search been done without detention? I mean if you are being searched, are you not detained? Likewise, when have you even been detained without being searched? Like, hey man, get in the back of the cop car. No, we don't need to know whether you are armed or not....."

But the bottom line is: who cares? Yes, we know it's legal, we know it's an invite, we know students don't have rights like adults, it's the law, we get.

Bottom line, Skippy,, we don't agree with this legal interpretation and, more importantly, really feel that IF the parents said, "No, we don't think this search is reasonable because the RESULTS prove over and over than there is no probable cause, there is no reasonable suspicion. Further, we think the message that our kids have second class rights does not educate them as to the real value, and risks, of freedom and liberty. To do the right thing, we are sending the wrong message."

At Phillipsburg, we just took one hour and ten minutes from 1,600 students FOR wasting over 230 days of teaching time to catch 1 student with less than 50 grams of pot ----- not even an amount that gets you dealer jail time, it's deemed an individual stash and not a felony, it's a disorderly persons offense. Chances are no jail time, just a fine. So for all that fu fa ra, that's a crime rate of .06%. Where's Elliot Ness? We have just thwarted a major crime spree of one guy, acting alone, without distributing anything, bothering anyone, out of 1,600 possible criminals. We call it reasonable to believe each of those 1,600 criminals may be students and probable that they have cause to break the pot law.

I find that unreasonable and stupid.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
April 12th

No one wants drugs in the schools, but I have a huge issue with (in the case of the P'burgh search) the students being essentially illegally detained for over an hour while these searches take place. (For those that didn't read the story, they said the school was in a "shelter in place lockdown" during the searches - no one could enter the school (ie. parents) or leave the classroom they were in.) You want to bring dogs into the school - fine. Do it before or after school. To tell any group of people that for the next indeterminate amount of time you will be locked in this classroom unable to leave for any reason because the authorities may or may not find any drugs in the school is unacceptable to me. To detain (or otherwise restrict movements) during an investigation, you need reasonable articulable suspicion of a crime. Even with that, I believe the Courts have ruled there is about a 10-20 min. window that a cop can detain you for RAS before they need to either let you go or develop enough evidence during their investigation to gain probable cause to extend the detainment. I don't believe ANY court has found that being detained for over an hour without any RAS is constitutional.

What I am really curious about is what are people's opinions on what should be done to anyone that is found to have drugs on campus. Do you throw the book at them, give the kid a criminal record, etc. or do you try to just send them to rehab and forget the criminal wrongdoing?

Jnnjr, I think the student should give up there supplier, and sent to rehab, if they don't , then they should be prosecuted! They are breaking the law, and can effect other students, and also be a danger to the student body!
The thing I don't understand is why the school and students all know they are coming? Makes no sense! Herion is the big problem today and it's very easy to get! I lived on Grand ave, and that train station needs to be watched not avoided!

90% of the heroin comes to the US from/through Mexico. If you're worried about your kids, wouldn't it make more sense to stop it at the source, rather than wait until it's being sold in your schools?

JerseyWolf JerseyWolf
April 12th

Yeah Robert....go to HS, make new friends, new experiences, join a club, experience metal detectors, guards with guns, lockdowns, forced detainments, drug sniffing dogs, no privacy expectations, learn how and when to snitch...

What’s next, loyalty pledges?

I thought buying the first jock strap was a tough right of passage.

StrangerDanger StrangerDanger
April 12th

So you ADVERTISE when?

Of COURSE they advertised when! They weren't trying to bust a bunch of teenagers for selling the occasional joint. They were trying to send a message--or, as it happened, several messages.

1. "We're in charge."
2. "We're here to protect your children."
3. "We don't care who we harm or offend, as long as it ultimately achieves what we say is the greater good."
4. "You should all trust us--we know what's best for you."

Basically, the same things every warlord has said for the last ten thousand years.

JerseyWolf JerseyWolf
April 13th


dodgebaal dodgebaal
April 13th

It’s always about control. Without control there’s no power, just the way the world works...

Speaking of control, it’s my opinion that we should give more thought to the psychology side of these actions. Psychology is a big and interesting field, one that I’ve always found fascinating, and I n this case behavioral psychology comes to mind, specifically stimulus control. Interesting reading imo.

(oops, crazyjane did I just give you #5 for your list posted in the other thread? My bad! ;-))

justintime justintime
April 13th


Great post.

dodgebaal dodgebaal
April 14th

Left side of mouth:
“Drug use is rampant and out of control; why don’t the authorities do something?”
Right side of mouth:
“How dare they...”

“Drug use is rampant and out of control; why don’t the authorities do something?”

Was that the result of the search? I haven't heard the results yet...

justintime justintime
April 16th

MY mouth says, "Why don't the authorities do something THAT WILL ACTUALLY EFFECTIVELY FIX THE PROBLEM, rather than wasting time, money, and energy trying to put Band-Aids on an severed artery and patting yourselves on the back?"

JerseyWolf JerseyWolf
April 16th

JerseyWolf, you have a smart mouth :)

April 16th

And my brain says “parenting isn’t easy. It’s a 25 hour a day job”

Some info I thought I’d leave here (as a sibling of a current HHS student)...
- The students do not know of the drug sweeps in advanced. My brother was at school when we received a phone call with a recorded message notifying us that a drug sweep was happening. Yes, some parent could then text their children to let them know.
- The lockers all have combination locks built in on them. It is no longer a student’s responsibility to bring in a lock for their locker, as the locker automatically lock when it is closed. The only way for another student to get in is if they were told your combination. Meaning that student can’t plant drugs in each other’s lockers. There is a master key somewhere in the office if needed.
- Random drug tests do happen. Any student who plays a sport or is in a club is required to have the paperwork on file that gives consent to random drug testing. It has been carried out for students in the past.
- The students aren’t dumb. The parking lot is not covered in security the way the building is. They use that to their advantage.
- Stopping it at home won’t always stop it. There are a few kids whose parents have a zero tolerance policy at their house and don’t even smoke or drink themselves. Yet the teenager leads a life of drugs and alcohol. Searching the house would come up clean. Not everything starts in the home.

HHS alum
April 17th

Not for nothing HHS alum, but when I was in high school, we had lockers with the pre-installed combination locks and most people could "jiggle" into any locker in the school w/o knowing the combination. Granted some lockers were easier than others and maybe it had to do with the age, but you cant tell me that just because they have pre-installed locks that no one can plant something in someone else's locker.

jnnjr, we used to break into lockers the same way. And, of course, you don't know if the combo was changed, since the last person used it. And you could often learn someone's combo just by watching them dial it. And you never know if some kid whose dad worked at the school stole the locker master key from dad and secretly copied it.

The airports are full of signs warning people not to leave their bags unattended, partly because someone might slip something into another person's bag. But if you're FORCED to have a school locker and FORCED to leave it unattended, you're automatically held legally responsible for anything and everything inside of it.

Welcome to the new America.

JerseyWolf JerseyWolf
April 17th

Why not drug test the students and teachers and anyone employeed at the school! Just randomly show up and pick a few out!
Why are they warned, that would mean they know they have a drug problem there! I guess they don't want the press!
We have the same problem at the pool, pot and drinking by our out of town guests! Check the parking lot, where are the cops when all this goes on? This was a nice town, now it's like any other town, except for the high taxes! With taxes we pay and what the superintendent makes a year, we could put cops in the school!

NJ School Districts With Most Drug, Alcohol Cases: New Data 2019 ....HACKETTSTOWN, WARREN 21.....

The result of the search, was they found nothing....Children are not stupid advance notice of a drug search will produce NOTHING.....21 cases is alarming to me considering that Hackettstown High School is not even a regional school.

Here are the school districts with the highest increases – and biggest reductions – in substance abuse cases from 2016-17 to 2017-18:...HACKETTSTOWN WARREN 17

citychick citychick
April 17th

Why is everyone so concerned with the locker issue and the ability to possibly plant something in a random locker by going out of their way to get access. Do we have a case of this happening or happening often? I don't think is something to get worked up about..by reading these comments you'd think its some rampant thing that students are currently doing to each other lol

"And you never know if some kid whose dad worked at the school stole the locker master key from dad and secretly copied it."
Seems very specific circumstances, did this happen to you?

Curious Curious
April 17th

“ and you never know.....”
Very creative excuse for “It’s not mine”.
Like in an episode of Live PD.
They find drugs in suspect’s pants pocket.
“These aren’t my pants” he says.

Curious, when I was in high school (nearby Warren Hills), I could break into any locker, or any classroom, at any time (and occasionally did). And when I went to another high school, I used to have a locker (but not MY locker) filled with stolen packs of cigarettes that I sold in school. So, yes, I know what I'm talking about.

Fortunately, the biggest drug dealer in Warren Hills, at that time, went on to become a police officer. . . .

My point was that it seems rather irrelevant to waste time, money, and resources searching school lockers for drugs, if you can't punish people for possessing those narcotics. And that it seems awfully unfair to charge someone for having drugs in a locker that is easily accessible by others.

JerseyWolf JerseyWolf
April 17th

Kinda dumb to announce the plan.
Random surprise sweep would work better.

How about preparing for “life?”.
If it’s in your locker- you’re responsible for it.
In “real” ( adult) life- if it’s in your car, you’re responsible for it.
Same thing.
Maybe treating our youth in this manner is a substantial reason they “fail to launch”?

These drug sweeps during student lock-downs are wrong and they've always been wrong,

These experiences teach the next generation that they live in a police state and they have no individual rights

In case ya' all didn't know, this is wrong, the students don't live in a police state and they do have and retain their individual rights

This is bad policy that has severe unintended consequences for the long term future of America

GreyHawk GreyHawk
April 18th

JNNJR, I agree with you that it is concerning that no data is kept (or at least shared) regarding false alerts from K9s. A decade ago when my high school in CNJ was put on lockdown for drug sweeps, an overwhelming amount of my peers were pulled from classes and detained for further searching when no drugs or paraphernalia were found following alerts from the K9s.
The police were allowed to randomly search classrooms. They came in, asked us all to leave, and after a few minutes came out with backpacks and coats in their hands. Much to my horror and surprise, my backpack was one of those the K9 alerted his handler of. Myself and three other classmates were ushered into different administrative offices where we sat for an hour or so awaiting further action.

As a 15 yr old female who had literally only tasted alcohol in church, I sat crying, fearing someone had planted something in my belongings. Finally five male officers and the principal came in with my backpack and proceeded to search it in front of me. One officer said I looked guilty because I was crying and to just tell them where the drugs were. Another asked for rubber gloves because he was too skeeved to pull out the UNUSED tampons in my bag with his bare hands. They scraped granola bar crumbs from the bottom of the bag and asked what it was. I told them it was a nature valley bar that had been crushed under my books and the officer commented how dirty and gross that was. I felt completely degraded and dehumanized. No, they did not find what they were hoping for.

Finally the school called my mom at work, after the searches were complete. I didn't have my own cell phone so I wasn't able to speak to her myself until we were both home that evening. While we both agreed keeping drugs out of schools was a noble enough cause, the way they handled the situation was horrible. I was treated like a criminal although there was no evidence aside from one dog's alert that I had done anything wrong. No one was arrested that day and I personally knew 8 students who had been pulled from classes due to false alerts.

I respect police K9s and handlers (my BIL is one) but they are not always right. With so many lockers or backpacks in the same small areas, their senses get overstimulated.

Just sharing my experience and hopeful that students are treated differently during these sweeps if we must rely on them in schools.

April 22nd

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