PETALUMA (KCBS) – Students at Petaluma junior high and high schools will soon be subject to random drug searches, as school administrators hope to cut down on the number of kids smoking or selling marijuana on campuses.

Petaluma Schools Director of Student Services Dave Rose said just like clockwork, come the fall marijuana harvest season, pot use and pot sales spike at the middle and high schools.

“The number of marijuana-related incidents involving our students is increasing,” Rose said. “And we’re seeing that happen every October, when the harvest comes in.”

So the school district has asked Petaluma police to conduct random searches of student lockers, using drug-sniffing dogs.

“They typically give the students notice that a search may occur,” said Petaluma Police Lt. Tim Lyons. “And then we go in and conduct a search of the lockers.”

Rose said there are a number of school programs designed to assist students in dealing with drug or alcohol-related issues. The searches are simply a first line deterrent.

“We’re not looking for a gotcha. We’re not looking to go out and catch a bunch of kids doing this,” said Rose. “What we’re looking for is another deterrent.”

Already this year, 77 students have been suspended from local schools due to marijuana use or possession, compared to 52 at the same time last year.  Expulsions have increased as well.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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