, Newburyport, MA

April 12, 2012

Drug sweep, lock down conducted at Newburyport High school

Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

— NEWBURYPORT - Newburyport High School was locked down for about 30 minutes this morning as local and regional law enforcement officials searched student backpacks for drugs.

The unannounced sweep, conducted by the local police with assistance from K-9 units from the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and Amesbury police, resulted in no drugs begin found and no arrests, according to Assistant School Superintendent Deidre Farrell.

“It’s very good news. it’s the best possible outcome,” Farrell said.

Farrell said students were brought out of their classrooms around 10 a.m. and ordered to leave their backpacks and bags out in the hallway. After students returned to their classrooms to continue their studies, multiple K-9 units searched their belongings. 

Farrell said all of high school’s roughly 700 students complied with the search. Staff were not targeted as part of the sweep.

“Students were just great during the entire process, they were respectful and are to be commended for their cooperation,”

Planning for this morning’s sweep began several weeks ago and was conducted due to what school administrators called an increase in drug-related situations at the high school. Farrell added the results of a recently released study that showed an increase in drug use at the school also played a part in the administration’s decision.

The last time a sweep of this nature took place at the high school was Dec. 17, 2009, serving as the role model for yesterday’s action.