MUSKEGON, Mich. – It’s nearly unanimous: most of Mona Shores’ middle schoolers are saying school is a safer place, and feels drug-free, all because of a dog named Anna.
“I just feel a lot better with this dog around,” says Caleb Diller, eighth grader at Mona Shores Middle School.
Since April 2013, Mona Shores Middle School has been using a pilot K-9 intervention program. Kevin Kinker, owner and trainer of “Complete K-9,” brings Anna to school for regular, random searches to sniff-out any drugs or weapons in the school.
“There’s no drug smell and not any feeling of drugs in the school,” says Erica Doriot, eighth grader at Mona Shores Middle School.
The Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson says there were 74 charged drug offenses and 21 weapons offenses involving minors in just a nine month period in 2013. Then compare those numbers to Kent County where the Sheriff’s Department responded to 43 drug calls and 10 weapons complaints, all happening at schools, in 2013.
Mona Shores Middle School is taking a stand using this K-9 intervention to put a stop to drugs and weapons in school. Here`s how it works: Anna smells locker by locker until she finds anything illegal. Then she alerts by pawing the locker and laying down to show where the drugs or weapons are.
“I get so much fulfillment out of making the changes that I see in our schools,” says Kinker.
Six months into the program, students answered a survey that Mona Shores Middle School Principal Greg Helmer says was overwhelmingly positive. According to the survey, 95-percent of students said they want the dog at school, and 86-percent said they believe this program stopped students from bringing drugs to school.
“It keeps people on their toes about having Marijuana or drugs in their locker,” explains Diller.
Helmer says they’re being proactive, and use this program as a deterrent.
“If we can keep it out of their hands and send the message that illegal drugs and substances are not good for you health-wise, not good for you as far as making decisions for your future, and keep them out of school, we’re all in a better place,” adds Helmer.
For any schools or organizations interested in learning more or working with Kevin Kinker and his “Complete K-9” Intervention Program, you can contact him at (616) 205-5110.