PELHAM — Two high-school students were suspended last week after a random drug search at two schools.
Fifteen police K-9 units swept the middle school and high school April 20 at the request of school officials. Several of the dogs detected narcotics in the high school, and alerted police about two students’ vehicles in the parking lot.
A 16-year-old male student initially refused to let officers search his car, but later agreed. Officers found a small amount of marijuana inside the car.
A bottle of alcohol was found in a car driven by a 17-year-old male student.
No charges will be issued, police said. “The point of the search isn’t necessarily to make arrests, it’s meant to be a deterrent for kids,” said Master Patrolman Eugene Stahl.
According to high school principal Dorothy Mohr, both students will be suspended for up to 10 days, per the student handbook.
School administrators invite police to the campus every year, to discourage students from bringing narcotics on the property.
“We want to send a clear message and reinforce our zero-tolerance policy to the kids that we don’t want drugs here,” Mohr said.
Some students later admitted they were expecting the search because it happened to fall on a day recognized by many as “National Smoke Day.” No, not cigarettes. The term “420” (pronounced: four-twenty) refers to the day many celebrate their quest for highness.
“We all knew it was going to happen,” said Bret Culoeton, 16. “People were saying the cops were probably going to come in because it was 420.”
The search also fell on the Friday before a weeklong school vacation.
Police denied rumors that the date had any correlation to the annual pot smoker’s holiday. It was merely a coincidence, said one officer.
Rumors of the correlation have circled amongst students in the past, but this year was the first time the search actually fell on April 20.
Dogs were deployed throughout the schools, the parking lots and in modular classrooms behind the high school.
Police from Pelham, Bow, Milford, Londonderry, Rochester, Gilford, Hudson and Hooksett, as well a New Hampshire state police participated. Assisting from Massachusetts were police from Lowell and Chelmsford, the state Department of Veterans Affairs, and deputies from sheriff’s departments in Essex and Middlesex counties.