DeKalb Schools disbands canine unit without telling parents

by: Erica Byfield Updated:


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has discovered DeKalb County Schools disbanded its canine unit and never told parents.
Prior to this school year, the search dogs routinely patrolled high school and middle school campuses with school resource officers.
As of last year, DeKalb Schools had four dogs: one explosive detection dog and three drug dogs.  The explosive detection dog can smell smokeless powder, which is found in loaded guns.
A district representative declined to discuss the matter in an interview but told Channel 2's Erica Byfield that the district disbanded the canine unit for budgetary reasons.
Within the last month, school leaders recovered five guns on various campuses: Salem Middle School, Columbia High School, Miller Grove High School, McNair High School and Southwest DeKalb High School.  Some parents believe students are aware the dogs are no longer patrolling the schools and aren't worried about being caught with a weapon on campus.
"I do not want to turn on the news again and hear there has been another incident at any school, especially DeKalb Schools," said Page Olsen.
Olsen's youngest son is a senior at Dunwoody High School.
"You've got to know going into the school that is a very safe zone for your child," she said.
Olsen told Byfield someone at her son's school told her about the disbandment a couple of months ago but she's concerned most parents have no clue.
"If it was for budgetary reasons then let us understand what the numbers were so we can understand why that had to be disbanded," Olsen said.
Olsen and other Dunwoody parents plan to take their concerns to DeKalb's Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson at a meeting at the school on Oct. 29.  Olsen has also requested the school board members talk about the issue in an upcoming board meeting.

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