In these days of increased security in our schools, using drug-sniffing dogs on middle- and high-school campuses may not seem out of the ordinary.
That's the measure that was approved at Wednesday's meeting of the Ysleta Independent School District Board of Trustees.
And the reasoning behind the action is rather sobering.
It's not a reaction to a rash of drug problems in the district. It's more a reaction to the violence that continues unabated in Juárez. That's somewhat chilling and yet another testimony -- as if more were needed -- about the depth and reach of the drug cartel-driven mayhem across the border.
The concern is that the drug war is causing drug cartels to go onto campuses on this side of the border and recruit students to get drugs moved in the United States. Why are the cartels focusing on secondary school campuses here?
According to El Paso County Attorney José Rodríguez, "They used to do it a lot at the Juárez nightclubs, but because a lot of people are not going to Juárez anymore, they have focused a lot of attention in our schools."
And J.R. Martinez, security chief for the Ysleta district, said, "Our vigilance has increased, our security measures have been heightened, our training has been modified. All those things are a result of what's going on in Juárez."
The problem is not without precedent. In 2008, a Horizon High School graduate and a student pleaded guilty in a smuggling scheme that recruited students to smuggle marijuana between Juárez and Oklahoma City. The ring involved 15 current and former students.
The YISD's action is commended as a necessary preventive measure and timely intervention. As Rodríguez said, such measures help curb drug consumption and smuggling.
The YISD's action is yet another indication that the effects of the Juárez cartel wars are spilling across the border into the United States.
It's particularly disturbing that these effects are showing up, at least in part, among our young people and on school campuses.
Students -- and parents and teachers, for that matter -- should be able to consider schools as safe havens. They shouldn't have to fear the violent unknown and should be able to concentrate on learning and setting a foundation for their futures.
It's good to see the YISD taking proactive measures to ensure campus safety.