New Safety Initiatives:

K9 inspections are a step in the right direction to keep school safe.

To the students that expressed their anger toward the locker and parking lot search, we would have to say, too bad. We think it’s completely awesome that the school is taking these precautions, especially to protect the students who don’t want to see drugs of any kind at Utica High School.

On Dec. 6, Utica’s first K9 inspection took place, and it was long overdue. Other school districts have authorized in-school searches for a very long time before ours.

What the K9 officers do is take dogs who are highly trained to sniff out narcotics such as cannabis, nicotine, opioids and many more. After a dog locates what they believe to be an illegal substance, they notify the officer of their findings. The officer will then search the suspects’ car or locker.

This first search was just a test run for the dogs. The school staff literally informed students of the day they would carry out the first search. Some students didn’t get the message.

“I’m really excited about the K9s. Philosophically, it’s a great idea,” principal Tom Lietz said. “Not a lot of people understand the damage these substances can do.”

Although we consider Utica to be a safe place, we hope bringing the K9s to Utica will clean up the school, which was much needed.

This will also help with the really irritating problem we have with overcrowded bathrooms due to the current vape problem. Some people just have to go to the bathroom, but have to wait for the other students to get a good ‘buzz’ before class. The majority of students don’t want vapes around.

The dogs were a great thing for the school because it not only got the kids in trouble who were sneaking these vapes or drugs into school, but also because of the fact that it instilled fear in some kids. Because upcoming inspections won’t be announced, hopefully the students who are dumb enough to bring in vapes will now use their heads and not bring that stuff into school.

On a related topic, students are now required to wear their student identification cards on them at all times. Granted, these ID cards aren’t bullet proof, but they will allow teachers the ability to seek out unwanted guests.

Apparently students from other schools occasionally show up for unacceptable reasons, and teachers don’t notice. The identification cards will limit and possibly prevent any intrusions.

The lanyards have bugged many students and some have been as outrageous enough to say that they are painful to wear. These lanyards are a good thing because they bring school safety to a whole new caliber in the easiest, and the most student-friendly way possible.

It takes ten seconds to slip the lanyard on and even if it gets lost, the school offers the actual lanyards and name tags for five dollars.

Whether or not students agree with the K9 inspections and lanyards, our health and safety is the school’s priority.