Goessel school board views drug-dog demonstration

Deputy Jeff Soyez of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office brought Jag, the county drug dog, to the June 10 Goessel school board meeting and demonstrated how the dog works with him to search for drugs.

Soyez explained how the dog was trained and how the two communicate with each other. Soyez hid illegal drugs in the high school library and then brought in the dog to show that she scratches when she finds the drugs.

Soyez suggested that schools have the dog come two or three times a year to search for drugs.

“She’s a working dog,” Soyez said of Jag. “The dog is a tool, but she’s also a deterrent.”

He said the dog loves people and only bites on command.

Stuart Holmes, junior/senior high school principal, asked if a drug search is done in a “lock-down” situation. Soyez said it is.

Superintendent Chet Roberts wondered how long a search takes. Soyez said he brings several dogs because he wants it to go fast. Therefore, a school search takes about an hour.

The dog searches students and teachers, too.

“I believe teachers need to teach by example,” Soyez said. “I’ve busted a lot of students; I’ve never busted a teacher yet.”

Soyez said the students are present when their possessions or vehicles are searched. He said when the dog “hits” on a car, it is like an order from a judge to open the car. If students refuse to open their cars, the police have a right to open it.

Soyez said the dog is 3 years old, and he has had her for two of those years. In response to a question from board member Lynette Duerksen, Soyez said drug dogs typically work from eight to 10 years.

When Jag “retires,” she will be his pet, Soyez said. Now he talks to her only when they are working.

Soyez showed the school board a bag of cocaine and described it as looking “like flour.” He also showed them marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

He said all the items he brought with him have been collected from students in schools and from car stops. According to Soyez, one out of every six vehicles on U.S. Highway 50 has drugs.

On another matter, the board heard the first reading of the “acceptable-use policy for employees” and the first reading of the “acceptable-use policy for students” regarding the Internet. The document states the use must be responsible and productive. The Internet may not be used for discrimination or harassment. Users may not attempt to disguise their identity. No unauthorized downloading of software is allowed.

All computer messages are the property of the school district and are public documents; they are not the property of the students because the school owns the computers and related equipment. The school reserves the right to look at any messages if necessary.

All users are reminded that anything sent out reflects on the school. Consequences for infractions will depend on the severity and nature of the violation.

The board heard the first reading of the athletic handbook. Holmes commended Athletic Director Sandy Banman for her work.

“It stresses the importance of academics first,” Holmes said, “and it stresses the importance of coaches as role models.”

The handbook states that high school students will be removed from the team if they have three ineligibilities related to academics. But this restriction does not apply to junior high students.

Referring to the handbook, Holmes said, “I see it as a good communication device.”

The board heard the first reading of the student handbook. Holmes defined inappropriate attire as shirts that do not completely cover the midriff, shirts that are cut too low, clothes that have partially open sides or that have large openings, and undergarments that show.

Clothing needs to be appropriate, not distracting.

“Most of our kids do an excellent job,” Holmes said. “We don’t have much trouble with the dress code here.”

Holmes described the policy for college or on-line courses, which are available for juniors and seniors who have a grade point average of at least 3.0. Such courses count toward the high school transcript and affect eligibility for activities. Dual college/ high school credit will be granted based on time spent in class.

In other business:

John Fast, elementary school principal, reported that achievement test scores have been rising over the past number of years.

Holmes also mentioned excellent test scores.

“We want to pursue excellence in three areas: academics, activities, and character and citizenship,” he said.

Holmes said it was an excellent year for student conduct; the number of in-school and out-of-school suspensions dropped to one-fourth of the previous year’s number.

Fast estimates the grade school will probably experience a decrease in enrollment of two students.

Curtis Guhr was hired as junior high school boys’ track coach.

Holmes explained the need for a third high school football coach: “With the kind of numbers we’re expecting next year, we would be the only school in the league that doesn’t have three coaches.”

The board agreed to a third coach, although no one has been named to the position yet.

Board member Richard Drake asked if pole vault will continue as a school sport at the state level. Roberts said he had checked with the state and was told that it will. The board approved purchasing new pole-vault mats for $7,550.

Roberts reported that new volleyball standards have already been purchased.

The board approved purchasing a new 66-passenger Thomas bus for $58,491. Bus No. 11 will be traded in.

The board discussed other vehicles the school district owns; Roberts highlighted the need to replace the high-mileage vans at some point. He also made a case for additional vehicles, but the board made no decisions.

The board approved the lease of new copiers for 60 months at a cost of $360.82 for the elementary school and $565.25 for the junior/ senior high school.

The board approved the purchase of K-6 music books.

The board approved the contract with the Marion County Health Department for $20 per hour and 33 cents a mile.

“They do an outstanding job for us,” Roberts said.

Roberts said the roof over the junior high gym needs work. He said it probably won’t hold another year.

Fast said Londell Duerksen has been installing new counter tops in the grade school classrooms and new tile in the bathrooms.

The board voted to pay the $300 fee to renew membership in the Schools for Quality Education organization.

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