Somerset County News

Drug-Sniffing Dogs Comb Somerset County High School with Negative Results



HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Eight law enforcement agencies with drug-sniffing dogs swept through Hillsborough High School early Friday morning, targeting lockers, classrooms, locker rooms and students’ cars in the parking lot, but no drugs were detected by the dogs, according to Hillsborough police.

There were no arrests.

Students were not notified of the sweep until they arrived at school Friday morning.

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The Hillsborough Board of Education authorized the drug sweep. Police and their K-9s searched the school for 90 minutes, according to Hillsborough police.

Classrooms were placed in a modified lockdown during the sweep; no one was allowed in the hallways. Classes resumed afterwards.

The police report reads: “The Hillsborough Township Board of Education and the Hillsborough Township Police Department are collectively committed to promoting a safe and healthy learning environment to the youth of the community.  In our ongoing effort to maintain a drug-free school environment, on Feb. 3rd at approximately 7:45 AM, a drug detection canines sweep was conducted at the Hillsborough High School.”

No students came in direct contact with the dogs; students were moved from classrooms prior to the random searches. Students were told to leave their book bags, pocketbooks and other personal items in the classrooms that were searched.

Hillsborough High School has four grade levels, freshmen-senior; enrollment is approximately 2,200 students.

"Illegal drugs have no place in a school setting, where students’ health and safety are the first priority, followed closely by establishing an environment that is conducive to learning," Hillsborough High School Principal Karen A. Bingert told students and parents in a letter posted to the school website. "In an effort to reinforce the importance of this drug-free climate, Hillsborough High School is currently participating in a drug sweep."

The letter was also signed by Dr. Jorden Schiff, schools superintendent and Hillsborough Police Chief Darren Powell.

"More importantly, this is being done to very clearly indicate that such a search may happen at any time as a definitive message that drugs have no place at HHS and as a deterrent for bringing drugs on campus in the future. The school has participated in similar sweeps in the past and hopes that this process has the same beneficial outcomes as we have seen previously," Bingert added.

Participating in the drug sweep were personnel and K9 units from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office; Somerset County Sheriff’s Office; New Jersey State Police; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bound Brook Police Department; Passaic County Sheriff’s Office; Morris County Sheriff’s Office and the Hazlet Police Department.

"Schools are microcosms of all society, and, as such, drugs can find their way into any school, just as they can into any family or workplace," Bingert said. "Within our curriculum, policies, and code of conduct are measures that are taken to prevent drug usage and when drugs have been discovered. There are also multiple support systems that exist within our school to help students lead drug-free lives," she continued This drug sweep is one more step that can be taken to keep drugs out of Hillsborough High School to the greatest extent possible."

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