For Colchester Superintendent Larry Waters, safety comes first.
"It is my responsibility every single day to ensure the safety of all of our students," Waters said.
But ensuring that safety is getting increasingly difficult at Colchester High School. Waters says drugs continue to be a problem on campus with 21 reported incidents last year, and weapons at the high school are on the rise.
"What we've noted is that we have an increase in the number of weapons that come in with drugs. And by weapons, I would say that would be knives," Waters said.
Waters says districts across Vermont are facing similar problems, but admits his approach may be unique. The high school is already training teachers to look for signs of trouble and is now working with the Colchester Police Department to bring its drug-sniffing canine, Tazor, into the mix.
"You know the dog has some capabilities that people do not, that's the reality of their nose," said Colchester Police Cpl. Peter Hull, the school resource officer.
Hull says the halls of the high school will serve as a training ground for the K-9 team, but claims regularly scheduled searches are not in the works for now.
"It provides a safe place for the dog to train. It will also provide some data and feedback to the school district about different locations within their building," Hull said.
Hull admits taking on the drugs and weapons with this new approach will take work.
"You know, I think we have to balance our desire to keep this space as substance-free as possible with the rights of the people that use this space," Hull said.
Waters is leaving how the K-9 team can best be used to in these halls up to the police, but is taking the lead in pushing the message behind its presence.
"Let's be clear, there will never be an opportunity for tobacco, alcohol, or any other drugs to be a part of our school environment," Waters said.
The Colchester School district expels about six students a year for drug-related violations.
The district has notified parents and teachers about its intentions to use the dogs. A formal plan for the K-9 is expected within the next month.
The Education Department says a handful of Vermont school districts are considering similar programs.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:32 AM EDT2013-05-21 04:32:23 GMT
It is a case that terrified the Northeast Kingdom, 78-year-old Pat O'Hagan, murdered more than two years ago. But now - sources tell Channel 3 there are 3 suspects and they are already in jail. O'HaganMore >>
It is a case that terrified the Northeast Kingdom, 78-year-old Pat O'Hagan, murdered more than two years ago. But now - sources tell Channel 3 there are 3 suspects and they are already in jail.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:31 AM EDT2013-05-21 04:31:47 GMT
When Burlington High School Spanish teacher Giovanna Yaranga was charged with having sex with one of her students many Burlington High School parents thought the worst, "As a mom it scared me, I send myMore >>
When Burlington High School Spanish teacher Giovanna Yaranga was charged with having sex with one of her students many Burlington High School parents thought the worst.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 10:13 PM EDT2013-05-21 02:13:38 GMT
A guilty plea Monday to one of the men linked to the death of a young man at the St. Albans pool.Chris Davis, 22, was found in the pool in April of last year, about a month after he had been reported missingMore >>
A guilty plea Monday to one of the men linked to the death of a young man at the St. Albans pool.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 8:33 PM EDT2013-05-21 00:33:46 GMT
A Forbes 500 company is coming to Rutland to start a pilot program for community solar leases.Green Mountain Power announced Monday a partnership with NRG Energy -- the largest solar developer in the U.S.More >>
A Forbes 500 company is coming to Rutland to start a pilot program for community solar leases.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 8:31 PM EDT2013-05-21 00:31:56 GMT
The state's new health care exchange opens for business in October, but efforts are underway now to explain how the system will work.Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont Monday opened an information centerMore >>
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont Monday opened an information center in South Burlington to provide information to the nearly 100,000 Vermonters who will be effected by the new federal mandate.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 8:15 PM EDT2013-05-21 00:15:25 GMT
At this Burlington workshop, wood is transformed into functional art. And it's not only the furniture that's unique, but also the person making it.Erin Hanley is going against the grain. She's a womanMore >>
At this Burlington workshop, wood is transformed into functional art. And it's not only the furniture that's unique, but also the person making it.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 8:07 PM EDT2013-05-21 00:07:25 GMT
At the Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, hundreds of different fruits, vegetables and plants are for sale."We grow about a 150 different kinds of vegetables -- 50 different kind of tomatoes alone," saidMore >>
Hemp is sold legally in stores throughout the country, but it's illegal to grow it. Vermont is changing that, but there may be some hurdles along the way.More >>