Drug dog will be soon be visiting a Vermillion public school

Drug dog will be soon be visiting a Vermillion public school by David Lias More than just students and faculty will be roaming the halls of one of the Vermillion School District's buildings in the near future.

Clay County Deputy Sheriff Dallas Schnack, who also serves as the school district's resource officer, told the Vermillion School Board Monday that students can expect a drug dog to sweep at least one school building in the coming weeks.

"I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to do a bit of education, and then we could bring in the drug dog after that," Schnack said.

He told the school board that he has prepared a lesson plan, and has already begun to present to several classes in the district.

"We talk about search and seizure and Fourth Amendment rights," Schnack said. "We work all the way from your house and to what the school policy is. I'm getting a lot of feedback on it."

Students have asked him, he said, if a drug dog will soon be making a sweep of the building.

"Basically, all that I've told them is 'when was the last time you remember the drug dog being here?' They say it's been a while, and I reply that you can probably expect at some point the dog will be at the school."

Schnack said he has made arrangements with the South Dakota Highway Patrol for a drug dog to sweep one of Vermillion's school buildings soon.

"If it's okay with you, I'm the only one who knows the date," he told the school board. "When that happens, I will be here at the first meeting after the drug dog goes through, and I'll present how things went."

Schnack said the goal of the drug dog visit is not to "find drugs and get kids.

"My goal is to prove that I think that we're doing the right thing," he said.

Schnack doesn't gather students together into a large assembly. Instead, he's been busy visiting as many social science classes as he can to explain the program.

"That way I'll have more one -on-one with them, and more debating of the topics," Schnack said. "Some like to challenge me on certain things, but it's going really well right now.

Concerns have been expressed both statewide and in the Vermillion community about the possibility of a heightened drug problem in schools.

It's an topic that's taken a back burner in the local community because of what have been identified as even more serious problems.

"This year, my focal points are alcohol and seat belts," Schnack said. "The school nurse and I have started a seat belt campaign. Every week we're doing something differently."

To address local youths' problems with alcohol, he has worked with students to start Students Against Destructive Decision-Making, which is formally known as Students Against Drunk Driving.

"At that point, we'll probably incorporate the seat belt campaign into the Students Against Drunk Driving," Schnack said. "Of everything that's going on, those are the two things that I would say are critical factors."

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