LOS ANGELES – La Jolla High School (search) in California has made a new hire, and he won't be teaching science or math. Taser, a golden retriever, will make surprise visits to campus searching for illegal drugs (search), alcohol and cigarettes.
Without a bite or bark, Taser will scan lockers and backpacks, never touching students. The service is one high school principal Dana Shelburne says is long overdue.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Anita Vogel.
"We find students in possession, we find students under the influence. Last year, we had a few young ladies who were using cocaine as a weight loss device," Shelburne said.
Despite opposition from civil libertarians, the notion of drug-sniffing dogs (search) in schools is gaining popularity. More than 1,200 school districts throughout the nation are now on board.
"I think there's an awareness as an acceptance of K-9 dogs as something that is not invasive, that if a student is not doing anything that's incorrect or unlawful the dog really has nothing to do but wag a tail and be scratched on the head," Shelburne said.
Law enforcement and school administrators are pushing the concept. Drug dogs get mixed reviews from the people they are supposed to protect.
"My parents are very opposed to the drug dog. My dad thinks that it is an invasion of privacy and he's just very against it and kind of outraged that they would presume to search our private property like that," said student Julia Burton.
"The school has the power to search the rooms, not our personal beings. Like, he can't come up to me and start sniffing me, but he can sniff the stuff out of the room so that's totally fine," said student Fahrzin Hemmati.
Administrators and parents who support the program consider it a success if it keeps one teen from doing drugs.
"What we're doing has been tested in courts of law. I think philosophically, I could argue it fairly enough without the courts that this is not an infringement upon any individual right," said
Others, however, argue that the thousands of dollars being spent could go to further academic programs during an era of tight budgets and the struggle to find funds.