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Armed Police Storm School in Drugs Raid - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Nov. 8th, 2003

11:32 am - Armed Police Storm School in Drugs Raid

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http://www.news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2150808

Armed Police Storm School in Drugs Raid



By Mark Sage, PA News, in New York

Armed police stormed a high school and ordered children to the floor at gunpoint so they could conduct a drugs search, it emerged today,

Officers ran into the South Carolina school, screaming at pupils to lie face down, before rifling through their bags.

Students who did not do as they were told were handcuffed.



Parents were outraged at the raid, but principal George McCrackin said he would “utilise whatever forces that I deem necessary” to keep drugs out of the school.

Stratford High School in Goose Creek has 2,700 pupils but does not have a reputation for drugs or crime.

During the raid a sniffer dog found traces of substances in 12 bags, but no drugs were recovered.

Parent Latonia Simmons called the incident “senseless”.

“Now why did they have to take all that force?” she told CNN.

“They were innocent kids. They were just minding their own business, getting ready for class.”

But Mr McCrackin denied the raid was an over-reaction.

He said: “I’m sure it was an inconvenience to those individuals who were on that hallway. But I think there’s a valuable experience there.”

Police said CCTV footage inside the hall led them to believe there had been “drugs activity”.

A spokesman added that although some officers had drawn their weapons they were “not pointing at the faces or heads of the students”.

Comments:

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From:visgoth
Date:November 8th, 2003 08:49 am (UTC)
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Let the conclusion-jumping begin...
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From:crasch
Date:November 8th, 2003 09:02 am (UTC)
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Eh? What conclusions are your referring to?
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From:gentlemaitresse
Date:November 8th, 2003 08:56 am (UTC)
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Yes, we all know that drugs are infinitely more dangerous than a bunch of guys waving guns around in a school.

My third child was born in Goose Creek, SC, and I'd never go back there. When I talked to the school board about homeschooling I was appalled by the legal requirements. Their response was that my children belong to the state and I'm just the caregiver.

Any man who thinks being forced to the floor by guys with guns is a "valuable experience" needs to be committed to an asylum.

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From:crasch
Date:November 8th, 2003 09:05 am (UTC)
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Any man who thinks being forced to the floor by guys with guns is a "valuable experience" needs to be committed to an asylum.

If you're trying to instill obedience and fear of authority, I can see how it would be a very "valuable experience".


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From:joe_tofu
Date:November 8th, 2003 09:11 am (UTC)
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There's a picture from the surveillance camera at this site:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/11/07/national/main582492.shtml
It really does look like the Army capturing a terrorist compound.

The reason this makes me angry is that it seems to have been done without probable cause and a real arrest warrant. I mean I imagine they got the paperwork done but from the principal's quote it sounds like he basically requested a raid based on his own personal interpretation of probable cause: principal George McCrackin said he would "utilise whatever forces that I deem necessary" to keep drugs out of the school

Schools are allowed to conduct searches and seizures beyond what is constitutional (is that the 4th amendment? i forget) so they can search lockers for drugs etc. The rationale for allowing this is that schools are not law enforcers and cannot put kids in jail or shoot them, so it's not a violation of rights. When the school administrator brings in police to do the dirty work for him, THAT GOES RIGHT OUT THE WINDOW! It is a complete and total violation of the constitutional rights of those students. It is a search/seizure conducted completely at the whim of a school administrator without real law enforcement basis.
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From:crasch
Date:November 8th, 2003 09:32 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the picture!

As for the consititutionality, a lot of constitutional protections have been eroded by the War on Drugs. However, people won't do anything about it until they get mad. Hopefully, images like this will spur more people to fight.
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From:joe_tofu
Date:November 8th, 2003 09:12 am (UTC)
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My thoughts on this topic became developed my senior year of high school. I went on a trip to Europe with some fellow students, paid for it out of my own pocket though as we all did, but the organizer was a teacher so our school board decided it was a "school trip" after we got back. So, they got a LOCAL police officer to come to school with his side-arm and interrogate us as to whether we had drank alcohol IN EUROPE under the age of 21. I was the oldest student, at 17, and the only one who didn't confess. Actually it was all a plot by the school superintendent to make up a reason to get our chaperone kicked out of her leadership position in the teachers' union. Very ugly political thing. But incidentally a total violation of many laws including the Bill of Rights.
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From:crasch
Date:November 8th, 2003 09:34 am (UTC)
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Nice. Didn't your classmates hear the saying "What happens in Amsterdam, stays in Amsterdam."

That sucks for your chaperone though. Yet another reason state-run schools should be abolished.
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From:squamous
Date:November 8th, 2003 09:36 am (UTC)
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While I am of course interested in seeing the results of the investigation into this action, on the face of it it seems like a shitty and dangerous overreaction to me.
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From:denshi
Date:November 8th, 2003 12:53 pm (UTC)
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I don't wonder.
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From:jasonecaesar
Date:November 8th, 2003 01:59 pm (UTC)

Huh...

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Well, that's just grand.
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From:leighannzig
Date:November 8th, 2003 02:28 pm (UTC)
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no, living in a police state totally rules! no, really...
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From:visgoth
Date:November 8th, 2003 04:14 pm (UTC)
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If you live in a police state, you should now be very afraid that you have spoken out in such a public forum.
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From:perich
Date:November 8th, 2003 02:44 pm (UTC)
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It's those stupid kids' fault for being in school. If they'd been out doing drugs, like they're supposed to, none of this would've happened.
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From:njsurf03
Date:November 8th, 2003 06:59 pm (UTC)
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i just found out i used to live near the school that this happend at. i think you saw it in summerville. if i still lived there id probably be on the floor in that picture. damn i always miss the exciting things.
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From:bhv
Date:November 8th, 2003 09:02 pm (UTC)

Anyone for Home Schooling?

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Would anyone who is a parent comment on whether this bit of news makes them more likely or less likely to home school their children.
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From:jette
Date:November 9th, 2003 01:04 am (UTC)

A Parent Commenting...

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At the very least more likely to stay the hell out of South Carolina.
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From:tdj
Date:November 9th, 2003 12:33 pm (UTC)
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It sounds as if the school principal might be the root cause of all of this trouble - check here for details.
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From:alitheia
Date:November 15th, 2003 01:30 pm (UTC)
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'"We received reports from staff members and students that there was a lot of drug activity. Recently we busted a student for having over 300 plus prescription pills. The volume and the amount of marijuana coming into the school is unacceptable," said principal George McCrackin.'

That quote was in the article from which joeclark got the picture.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 25th, 2003 03:13 pm (UTC)

Before you criticize an officer, walk in his/her shoes

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We are living in a loving but yet complex and dangerous society. Some of us have the appropriate family values and are the norms of society. But yet, there are others who basically disregard the LAW. I guess it depends on the area/neighborhood in which you live. - where there are drugs usages and sells - you can believe that weapons are near. You can also believe that juvenile crimes (homicide, thefts, 1st degree assualt, 2nd degree assaults and ETC..) are RISING - they are apart of a larger group of people who use/sell drugs and at times - carry weapons. I am not condoning the preceived aggressive behavior of the Police Officers. I just don't know the entire facts which lead up to initial incident of the request for the school search. If officers prescribe to my philosophy...where there are drugs...there are weapons.., then the officers did the right thing to safe gard themselves and others from escalated violence. And for the people who think that police officers "No cop should ever draw a gun except when attacked or threatened by an ACTUAL visible weapon and that they are being PAID to take the risk!" have not walked in the shoes of a police officer. They are under paid, over worked and not appriecated. Before you criticize an officer, walk in his/her shoes.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 27th, 2003 06:53 pm (UTC)

Monday Morning Quarterback

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I tend to agree with this one. Although police officers are over worked, under paid and by the reading of the listed comments - not appreicated, I believe that they were hired to protect and service our communtiy - even if our community rest within the walls of our school system. Let us not forget recent school crime statistics and the numerous student shootings by the hands of fellow classmates. Lets us look at ALL the Facts before we Judge! It is sooo easy to be a Monday Morning Quarterback!!!!!
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