Superintendent Dr. Abe Saavedra says enough is enough. He says illegal drug use among HISD employees will not be tolerated. Unannounced random searches may be just the beginning.
In six weeks time, HISD police have arrested a dozen district employees allegedly caught with illegal drugs on campus. In a matter of days, police will start conducting random searches of all employee parking lots district wide.
Dr. Saavedra said, "We don't have a set schedule at this point. We will hit every campus over a period of time. I am doubtful we will hit 300 campuses before the holidays because it's almost physically impossible. These canine searches take time."
Today's announcement comes on the heels of three more arrests at Yates High School. Three teachers were taken into custody. Two are accused of possessing marijuana and another is accused of possessing a controlled substance -- the painkiller Vicodin. It was the principal who asked police search in the first place.
Gayle Fallon of the Houston Federation of Teachers explained, "We'll pay their bonding fee, we'll provide an attorney. We are also telling them, if you are convicted even of a misdemeanor, just go shred your teaching certificate because you are never going to teach again."
The random searches could lead to sweeping changes. It all depends on the scope of the problem. Though he couldn't exactly say how, Dr. Saavedra admits he's not ruling out anything.
"We will not let the actions of just a few tarnish the good reputation of our dedicated staff and detract us from our mission to offer the very best education for our community's children," he promised.
The Harris County District Attorney's office has not yet accepted charges. There are 300 campuses within HISD and some 28,000 employees. Those unannounced, random searches will likely last well into next year.
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