Drug Dog in, High School Student Out

A drug-sniffing dog will be on guard at Porter Creek Secondary School tomorrow morning. An injunction being sought by a Porter Creek student to…

A drug-sniffing dog will be on guard at Porter Creek Secondary School tomorrow morning.

An injunction being sought by a Porter Creek student to prevent the dog from attending her school is denied, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale said this morning.

“I dismiss the application to restrain the introduction of the drug-detecting dog,” he said.

The public interest of helping to alleviate the taking and selling of drugs at Porter Creek secondary must take priority over the student’s intense allergies to animals, which has been known to cause hives, and swelling of the student’s throat and tongue, Veale said in his decision this morning.

The student has been told by doctors that the only way to 100 per cent protection against allergic reactions is avoiding animals altogether, Veale read from a prepared decision.

“(The student’s) family doctor prescribed an epi pin and said the avoidance of animals is the best way to avoid an allergic reaction,” he said.

The student’s injunction application had merit and was not a waste of the court’s time, Veale noted.

The denial of the injunction follows a complaint dismissal by the Yukon Human Rights Commission this summer.

The student is being wronged by parents on the school’s council, the mother of the student, who cannot be named by order of the court, said this morning.

“I think some of the overzealous parents have persecuted my daughter,” the mother said.

“(My child) will not be at Porter Creek Secondary School if the drug dog is there,” she said.

The student is actively involved in the school culture and is now forced to find a new school away from friends, she said.

The mother said the family was reviewing their legal options.

Ebony the drug dog will be going to work tomorrow morning, said the school’s principle, Kerry Huff.

“The injunction has been denied. That means we can go ahead with the program at our earliest convenience,” he said.

“We’re going to expect Ebony to be in tomorrow morning.”

The fact that a child will no longer to be able to attend Porter Creek secondary as a result of the decision is disappointing, Huff said.

School-based drug dogs have proved effective in Alberta in raising awareness on drug-related issues, said Ebony’s handler, Doug Green, on Monday.

Green created Alberta’s Canines for Safer Schools program, which the Yukon’s program is based on.

“It’s disappointing that this is about winning and losing … it’s really about what’s going to be best for all children.

“I run a program that benefits kids and having to go through this process I don’t think has benefited anyone,” said Green.

It’s disappointing the student is leaving, but having the dog in school will encourage students to interact with the program and learn more about the benefits of not getting involved in a lifestyle that can lead to addiction, he said.

“Often doing the right thing is difficult.”