Lockdown and Canine Search at Reading High This Morning
[Editor's note: The information below was issued in a press statement from the Reading Police Department.]
At approximately nine o’clock this morning, the Middlesex County Sherriff’s Office K-9 Unit, in cooperation with the Reading Police Department and the Reading Public Schools, conducted a lockdown and canine search of Reading Memorial High School. All common areas, lockers, and some random classrooms were searched in accordance with proper legal procedures and the Reading School Committee Policy JIH on Search and Seizure. This lockdown and search drill was the result of extensive planning with school and police personnel and every effort was made to minimize the disruption to instruction. The entire procedure took 35 minutes.
Our continued goal in our schools is to provide a safe environment for your children; where they are not exposed to unlawful and harmful activities such as illegal substance possession. The canines that were used today are trained to search for illegal narcotics. They are part of a highly skilled K-9 unit that conducts school searches throughout Eastern Massachusetts. Similar drills have been held in the last few years at high schools in North Reading, Wilmington, and Melrose.
During the search, three “alerts” were discovered out of 1250 students where the canines were able to detect an odor consistent with illegal narcotics. The School Department will work with the Reading Police Department to develop any appropriate disciplinary and legal remedies.
We will continue to monitor the issue of illegal substances on campus and will authorize a repeat search if we feel it would help in our efforts to maintain a positive learning environment.
We hope that you will understand our position on this issue and will be supportive of our proactive steps to maintain a safe school environment. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Sergeant Detective Mark Segalla at the Reading Police Department at 781-944-1212 or Superintendent of Schools John Doherty at 781-944-5800.