The Hall County School District is asking for money in the 2018 budget to purchase a dog trained to sniff for drugs in middle and high schools. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Drug-sniffing dog may patrol middle, high schools in Hall County

Middle school and high school students in Hall County could have canine company when they return to classes this fall. 

The Hall County Board of Education unanimously approved its 2018 budget in which $50,000 was requested by the school system “to further the district’s efforts in eliminating the presence of illegal drugs in our schools,” spokesman Gordon Higgins said.

Part of that money would be used for a trained police dog to patrol the halls “on an almost daily basis,” Higgins said.

The final public hearing took place at 6 p.m. Monday.

Higgins said police have used dogs in the schools previously, but this request didn’t stem from an existing problem.

“We haven’t suddenly become alarmed,” Higgins told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We haven’t seen any kind of spike in the last five years.”

Parent Gail Drake told Channel 2 Action News she believes illegal narcotics are a problem on campus.

"I do think that's a problem,” Drake said. “I think it's in a lot of the kids' backpacks in those schools, and we hear about it.”

Higgins said officials want to stay proactive rather than reactive.

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Hall County sheriff’s spokesman Stephen Wilbanks said the dog’s sole purpose will be drug detection.

"If you don't have drugs coming into the school, then you certainly don't have anything to worry about from the dog,” Wilbanks said. 

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