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Routine drug searches at 3 schools
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MONROE - Police drug dogs found traces of marijuana and some drug paraphernalia in two cars Monday in the Monroe High School parking lot.

Monroe Police Chief Fred Kelley said officers also found drug paraphernalia in the vehicles, and citations could be issued after the investigation is complete.

Because the investigation isn't finished, Kelley couldn't release more information.

Search dogs from five police departments inspected the parking lots at the Monroe High School and Monroe Alternative Charter High School, as well as the lockers at Monroe Middle School on Monday morning. Nothing was found at either the Charter School or the Middle School.

Approximately 200 vehicles were searched.

Superintendent Larry Brown said the amount of marijuana in the cars was "minute."

Any punishment of those responsible would be dealt with through the school district's normal enforcement processes, but he said the amount of drugs found wasn't enough to warrant an expulsion.

The names and ages of the students were not released for confidentiality reasons.

Kelley said the last "routine" search was done about 18 months ago.

The Monroe Police Department, and sheriff's departments from Green, Lafayette and Grant counties, as well as the Janesville Police Department, took part in the search.

Kelley said the departments train with each other on a regular basis.

He said the school district contacted the department and requested the search. The school districts have a right to request the search, Kelley said. On their own, police departments would need probable cause to search the parking lots or schools.

In an e-mail and phone message sent to parents Monday morning, the school district said the search was part of its school safety initiative.

"The goals of such an exercise are to work collaboratively with community safety organizations, to reassure students, parents and community members that the district takes school safety seriously, and to send the message that anything that will compromise school safety will not be tolerated," the e-mail said.

Brown said there is no set time for any search, and only a few administrators and the police knew about the search.

"We do these randomly," Brown said. "It's more of a deterrent. We want our kids to know they can't bring anything on school grounds."