‘Routine’ drug sweep at NNHS has some residents on edge
BY BILL BIRD firstname.lastname@example.org December 1, 2012 12:06AM
Updated: January 3, 2013 10:53AM
Naperville residents as a rule seem more than happy to have a pronounced police presence in their neighborhoods.
But things apparently got a little out of hand for some on Nov. 19, when a number of police squad cars and a total of eight K-9 units spent the better part of the day on the campus of Naperville North High School.
“It is my understanding that several students were suspended during the past week for some kind of drug issue,” one resident wrote to The Sun last month in an e-mail. “I’ve heard it too many times during the last couple of days from my neighbors, who also heard the story from their children, to not believe that something actually occurred.”
“In fact, it is possible that a parent of one of the suspended students is a (Naperville School District 203) employee, so perhaps that is another reason for the silence” on the part of district administrators, the reader wrote.
Another resident said it was his or her understanding more than 40 students had been arrested, suspended or both on Nov. 19 and ensuing days, after being caught with narcotics on the school grounds.
Police Sgt. Lou Cammiso said he, too, had heard a good deal of talk concerning the police presence, which he said involved a routine operation.
“It’s a routine K-9 search they do a couple times a year,” Cammiso said. Drug-sniffing police dogs and their handlers walk through the school’s parking lots and hallways where students’ lockers are located, he said.
“There were eight dogs out there that day,” Cammiso said. “One dog cannot do (a search of) an entire school or parking lot” because each is only able to detect the presence of narcotics for about 30 minutes at a time, and thus must be rotated in and out of service, he said.
The hallways and parking lots were searched for drugs “with negative results,” Cammiso said. “Parents were notified as a courtesy” about the sweep, but police found “nothing inside the lockers” in the form of contraband and made no arrests, he said.
An examination of written police records indicated no one was arrested Nov. 19 on or near the school grounds.
Susan E. Rice, District 203’s director of communications, told The Sun that Naperville North’s principal “has not had any requests to talk about any incidents that may have taken place in the school” on or about Nov. 19. District policy prohibits administrators from discussing disciplinary matters involving students, faculty members and other employees.
Rice said residents who have questions or concerns about goings-on at district schools “should be in communication with the school administration. The acknowledgement they are seeking can take place through this channel, and they should begin with this step.”
She added Naperville North officials in January will hold “a parent session covering how the school deals with all types of discipline issues, as a means of improving parent understanding.”