Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, Elizabethton City Schools will implement a new drug and firearm detection program in partnership with Interquest Detection Canines. The non-aggressive canines will conduct random, unannounced inspections of Elizabethton High School and T. A. Dugger Junior High School. The canines are professionally trained and certified annually to detect the presence of illicit drugs, prescription pills, alcohol and firearms.
“We have not had major issues with drugs or firearms in the past, but want to be proactive about how we manage school safety,” said Director of Schools Dr. Corey Gardenhour. “We want to take every reasonable precaution to guarantee a safe learning environment for our students, and this program has a proven track record of success.”
Following a demonstration at EHS on July 13, the Board approved a contract with Interquest for $3,000 at the July Board meeting. The inspections will begin in August 2017 and will take place periodically in buildings, parking lots and grounds through May 2018. If any prohibited items are found, the canine simply sits down, and school administrators then initiate the appropriate disciplinary action. Canines do not search persons or visitors, and Dr. Gardenhour said students and staff can expect very little disruption to the school day.
Interquest serves more than 25 Tennessee counties. They have been in business more than 25 years and first began in Tennessee in 2013. Many districts report a significant decrease in drug related offenses following the implementation of Interquest’s canine detection services.