High school lockdown yields no illegal drugs

Coolidge Examiner
Dec. 24, 2006

"We had a hunch that today would be a good day for a lockdown," explained Tim Hamilton, CHS principal. "We like to do these every now and then to ensure that the students know we remember them and are looking out for their safety."

Hamilton said the high school administration worked with the Coolidge Police Department and Pinal County Juvenile Probation Department to set up the lockdown. At 12:45 p.m. on Dec. 14, four officers from those departments joined Hamilton and CHS deans Vance Danzy and Craig Cutshaw to comb the school for illegal materials. Hamilton said the seven members of the search party divided into three teams to expedite the process. It took the three teams about an hour and a half to scour the entire school site.

"I'm pleased to announce that we checked every student and every classroom, and no illegal drugs were found," he said. The search did turn up some Tylenol and Aleve, Hamilton said; while not illegal, even painkillers such as those must be approved by the school nurse.

Brian Miller, student resource officer with the Coolidge Police Department, discovered a knife hidden in a bookcase. However, Hamilton said, there were no students around, so it would be difficult to determine the owner of the knife.

It was the second lockdown of the 2006-07 school year at CHS. The first lockdown took place on Aug. 18, the day after three CHS students from the San Tan Heights area were busted for shoplifting liquor from the Johnson Ranch Wal-Mart and then imbibing the alcohol during the bus ride to school. In that instance, Coolidge police joined probation officers from CHS, McCray Junior High and Florence in a thorough search of all three San Tan Heights buses, as well as 22 random classrooms. That search also turned up no illegal drugs and no alcohol; the three students were punished with nine-day out-of-school suspensions.

Hamilton noted that the school has conducted at least three random bus searches this year. He said typically, the school works in conjunction with Coolidge police and the Pinal County Juvenile Detention Department to set up a random search of three buses.

"We used to contact the bus driver as they were heading to the school, and ask them to pull in by the bus barn," he said. "For the last couple searches, we've had the buses pull into the parking lot near McDonald's. That way, if the students throw something out of the window, we can see it right there in the parking lot."

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