The Harlan County Board of Education agreed Monday to work with the Kentucky State Police, allowing unannounced, general searches of any and all schools.
Lockers, desks and any other school property is up for search. Anything stored in school property, whether it belongs to students, teachers or employees, will be subject to the search.
Along with drugs, dogs may sniff out tobacco, alcohol and other contraband.
The dogs will not be searching individuals, said Sgt. Allen Layne, KSP special operations.
He assured board members the dogs are not trained to bite.
The searches may be conducted at any time, and will cost the school board nothing.
Pam Sherman Sheffield, board member and the mother of two Harlan County students, said she's glad the board approved drug dogs in the schools.
"I'm hearing from students that drugs have gotten out of control in our schools," she said. "I think its time we take the drug problem seriously, for the safety of our children."
The school district is also getting some help from Congressman Hal Rogers and UNITE in trying to keep students off drugs.
A $1.6 million grant for the education and prevention part of Unlawful Narcotics Investigation, Treatment and Education (UNITE) will be going in part to fund drug and alcohol counselors for schools across the state.
Harlan County gets two counselors, positions to be shared with the independent school district. Most counties only got funding for one.
The drug and alcohol counselors will be paid up to $44,000 through the UNITE program. The county school system, as the larger district, will be responsible for hiring for the positions.
The counselors must have a degree from a four-year college or university and have or be working toward a alcohol and drug counselor certification.
Counseling students addicted to drugs or at risk of becoming addicted, coordinating treatment plans and helping with school-wide substance abuse prevention and education programs will be part of the counselors' duties.
The board approved participating in the program Monday, and agreed to share the counselors' services with the city schools. The Harlan Independent School District will have the same option.
Tim Saylor, superintendent for the county schools, said the drug counselor program is an "opportunity" for educators to help students change their lives.
Right now, he said, "counselors are having to do so much besides just counseling."
"I'm just tickled to death we got two," Saylor said. "We'll put them to good use."
Also Monday, the school board congratulated the 15 employees of the year. Each was awarded a plaque. Saylor encouraged them to "keep up the good work."
Employees of the year include:
n Mary Lou Casey, central office.
n Chamayne Metcalfe Johnson, media specialist, Hall Elementary School.
n Rebecca Goss, student support services.
n Kristen Johnson, first-year teacher, Cumberland High School.
n Debbie Herren, school food services, Wallins Elementary School.
n David Hensley, maintenance.
n Fred Sergent, transportation department.
n Loretta McQueen, custodian, Green Hills Elementary School.
n Lora Murphy, support staff, Evarts High School.
n Terri Cobb-Kelly, guidance counselor, Rosspoint Elementary School.
n Vanessa Belcher, elementary teacher, Wallins Elementary School.
n Veda Hall, primary teacher, Rosspoint Elementary School.
n Kathy Napier, secondary teacher, Evarts High School.
n Linda White, principal, Black Mountain Elementary.
n Tammy Nance, family and consumer science, James A. Cawood High School.