Catholic schools in Red Deer will start using dogs to search students' lockers for drugs.

The school district approved a policy that allows administrators to call in the RCMP when they suspect there are drugs in the school.

Paulette Hanna, with the Red Deer Catholic school board, says lockers are school property and therefore a search of them is legal. However, a search of the students themselves wouldn't be.

"We look at this as a proactive item in the event that we need to have the dogs come in," she said. "We couldn't do it unless we had this procedure in place. The RCMP have to be assured that the students have been informed of this, so there are no violations of rights."

The principal of the Fort McMurray high school wanted to do something similar, but was told by the RCMP that unwarranted searches violated Alberta's privacy laws.

Hanna says lockers aren't private.

"For the school board, it's always been known to students and parents that lockers are not the rights of the student, that they are owned by the school and therefore their property," Hanna said. "Whatever is in that locker can be searched at any time because it is not their private property."