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School Business Affairs


As drugs and other contraband made their way into schools starting in the 1960s, education leaders turned to drug-sniffing dogs, which typically work in conjunction with law enforcement officials, to detect the presence of contraband in learning environments. In fact, sniff dogs—or their noses—are a highly effective, reliable, and unobtrusive means of discovering potentially dangerous contraband, such as drugs, alcohol, and even gunpowder from firearms. Accordingly, the vast majority of courts have upheld the use of sniff dogs in schools when challenged under the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The use of drug-sniffing dogs has come to the legal forefront in two recent Supreme Court cases from Florida. Although these disputes did not arise in schools, they are worth reviewing because they raise important questions about the use of sniff dogs in educational contexts.

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This article originally appeared in the September 2013 School Business Affairs magazine and is reprinted with permission of the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). The text herein does not necessarily represent the views or policies of ASBO International, and use of this imprint does not imply any endorsement or recognition by ASBO International and its officers or affiliates. Any additional re-purposing or reprint of this article in this or any other medium is restricted without prior written consent.

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Association of School Business Officials





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Reston, VA



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