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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — School and base security officials conducting a surprise search of Yokota High School on Friday netted a number of prohibited items.

Officials, however, declined to immediately say what items were found.

The inspection was ordered by Col. Scott Goodwin, the base commander, after several recent incidents where prohibited items were found on school grounds, said Air Force Capt. Warren Comer, a base spokesman.

According to a policy letter on the Yokota High School Web site, prohibited items include such things as knives, razors, clubs, laser pointers, illegal drugs, alcohol and any item that may disrupt the classroom environment or threaten the health and safety of students.

Chip Steitz, spokesman for Department of Defense Dependents Schools at its Pacific headquarters on Okinawa, said DODDS “cooperates with and supports installation authorities who conduct searches of its schools.”

Comer said the inspection was designed to promote the safety and security of students and the Yokota community. It also was timed with the spring break season, when in the past there has been an increase in incidents of misconduct.

“We worked together in planning and implementing this inspection,” Goodwin was quoted as saying in a statement. “This included consideration for the students and an attempt to not inconvenience them during the process.”

Comer said military police using a military working dog inspected the entire high school, including student lockers, for contraband.

Several Yokota High students interviewed said that the inspection was totally unannounced, taking place right after lunch. They also said the officials inspected lockers, the students’ bags and, for those who drive to school, cars.

When questioned about possible reasons for the searches, most students interviewed said they were not sure, but guessed that officials might be looking for drugs.

“In the two years I’ve been here I’ve never seen anything like this,” one junior said. “It was completely unexpected.”

He also added that from what he saw during the search, most of the contraband found was cigarettes.

“Some prohibited items were found during the inspection, but we cannot release any specifics on this information until an investigation is completed,” Comer said. “The investigation into these findings will be conducted by base and school officials.”


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