Police Fail To Find Drugs in Stratford High Raid 

Police Fail To Find Drugs in Stratford High Raid 
Posted by CN Staff on November 07, 2003 at 13:00:45 PT
By Seanna Adcox Of The Post and Courier Staff 
Source: Post and Courier
Goose Creek -- Reports of drug deals at Stratford High School led to an early-morning police raid this week in which about 15 officers cordoned off the main hallway to search for marijuana. Several drew their guns but did not use force, police said.Officers did not arrest anyone during the lockdown at 6:40 a.m. Wednesday.
A police dog sniffed residue on 12 book bags but found no drugs, said Lt. Dave Aarons of the Goose Creek Police Department."Several officers did unholster their weapons in a tactical law enforcement approach," he said. "There was no force whatsoever. Everyone was very compliant."Officers charged a ninth-grader Wednesday afternoon with filing a false police report.The juvenile said an officer shoved her to the ground during the search, Aarons said. Principal George McCrackin said he, other school officials and the girl's parent reviewed video surveillance tapes and determined she wasn't even in that hall at the time.McCrackin went to Aarons on Monday with suspicions about marijuana exchanges at the school, based on camera recordings and reports from students and teachers. "Within the last three weeks, there's been an influx of drug activity. I've been in this business for 34 years, and I've never seen the amount of activity we've experienced recently," said McCrackin, who has been principal at the school since it opened in 1983.Several weeks ago, a student was arrested trying to pass out between 200 and 300 prescription pills, he said. After school ended Friday, one student threatened another and claimed to have a weapon. Snipped: Complete Article: VirgilSource: Post and Courier, The (Charleston, SC)Author: Seanna Adcox Of The Post and Courier Staff Published: Friday, November 7, 2003 Copyright: 2003 Evening Post Publishing Co.Website: letters postandcourier.comCannabisNews Justice Archives
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Comment #33 posted by jose melendez on November 09, 2003 at 05:40:38 PT
Unuestionably criminal.
If alcohol were illegal again, would it have been appropriate to raid a school for a flask? Cigarettes are illegal for minors, were there no Marlboros found in the "sweep?" Got Ritalin?
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Comment #32 posted by ekim on November 08, 2003 at 18:55:34 PT
Those upset Parents should have a look at DARE
find out how those same police are asking the kids to give them up.And its one two three --who are we fighting for.and its five six seven eight --open up those prison gates. 
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Comment #31 posted by The GCW on November 08, 2003 at 16:14:16 PT
Thanks for the poll.Everyone should realize the last poll (click results, that is the one labelled yesterdays poll, only had 37 votes.It seems there would be more than 37 people here at C-news to crank out some results...This poll also will allow You to comment, in case there is anything You have to say about caging humans for using a plant.It looks like We will have to wait till later to view the results.Suspense.
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Comment #30 posted by kaptinemo on November 08, 2003 at 15:31:15 PT:
A cardinal rule of police work. 
I've worked in security before, and as many of you know, am certainly no stranger to weaponry.THE cardinal, irrevocable, unforgivable rule for carrying a weapon is that you only draw it and aim at somebody if YOU ARE ABOUT TO TAKE THEIR LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!! What the flaming f- were these cops thinking? Were they thinking at ALL?
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Comment #29 posted by Adam1 on November 08, 2003 at 14:24:35 PT
False statement doesn't justify the means
Shame on the Paramilitary raid conducted by South Carolina Police. I hope that Principal George McCrackin is proud of the way he has justified this disgusting reasoning in stating that he would, "utilise whatever forces that I deem necessary" to keep drugs out of the school. With that kind of thinking he should be searching for another career sooner than later. Any parent should plainly realize that their child is in far greater danger with Mr. McCrackin on staff than with pot heads as classmates. The behaviour portrayed by the police is nothing short of criminal and at the very least deserves a class action lawsuit, since it is rare that you see an officer willing to arrest one of their own. This should be a huge wake up call to this country. People will realize, with this kind of criminal behaviour afflicted on high school kids, that drugs are far from our worst enemy. I suggest that our worst potential enemy has just reared its ugly head.Eric Knudsen
St. Louis Park, Mn
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Comment #28 posted by i420 on November 08, 2003 at 14:10:08 PT
Another poll
POLL Question...To reduce prison overcrowding, would you favor reducing the penalties for some lesser drug crimes? Vote by Mon 8am 
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Comment #27 posted by jose melendez on November 08, 2003 at 13:19:30 PT
Stratford High School Sweep: Under the rug?
 . . . drug sweep 
 Of The Post and Courier Staff  GOOSE CREEK--As police struggled to calm a growing firestorm over their drug raid at Stratford High School, state investigators Friday began probing why officers charged into a crowded hallway with guns drawn while students cowered in fear. After watching a surveillance videotape of the Wednesday raid, Solicitor Ralph Hoisington asked the State Law Enforcement Division to look into possible police misconduct in the operation. He called for the probe after consulting with Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt. "I don't think there's anything wrong at all with law enforcement addressing a problem in a high school, but I have serious concerns about the need for restraining students and drawing weapons," Hoisington said. "I don't want to send my child to a school and find out guns are drawn on them. I certainly don't want them hog-tied as part of a sweeping investigation." Responding to Stratford officials' complaints about drug activity at the school, 14 Goose Creek police officers cordoned off the main hallway at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday and searched for marijuana, at least three with guns drawn. Many of the dozen targeted students were among 107 teenagers in the hallway at the time. No district official knew officers would come in with guns drawn, said Dave Barrow, Berkeley County School District's high schools supervisor. A police dog sniffed drug residue on 12 book bags but found no drugs. Twelve to 14 students were restrained with plastic handcuffs during the search, but no one was arrested. DeWitt said he and Hoisington decided an unbiased investigation of the incident was warranted after they received several calls from parents troubled by the operation. SLED spokeswoman Kathryn Richardson confirmed the investigation but declined to discuss details. Goose Creek police found themselves the center of unwanted attention as videotapes of the raid aired repeatedly on local and national television. Police officials defended the officers' actions and said they welcomed the SLED probe. Goose Creek police Lt. Dave Aarons said guns were drawn as "a matter of officer safety." "I don't think it was an overreaction," he said. "Anytime you have qualified information regarding drugs and large amounts of money, there's a reasonable assumption weapons are involved." Police handcuffed only students who failed to "respond to repeated police instruction," Aarons said. Officers then replaced their guns in their holsters. The plastic "flex-cuffs" stayed on about 10 minutes, he said. Aarons said parents often don't understand police tactics. "I'm absolutely outraged," said Danny Partin, whose stepson attends Stratford but was not in the hallway during the search. "This is supposed to be a free country, not a police state." Parent Nathaniel Ody went to the police department Friday afternoon to file a complaint. He said his son, a senior basketball player, was pulled from another part of the school Wednesday and placed in the hallway in restraints. He claims his son was compliant but was handcuffed anyway. "I'm appalled," he said. "To just take a bunch of innocent kids and put them in restraints, and then not even find anything, is ridiculous." Ody, who is black, accused police of picking on black students and said he plans to get the NAACP involved. Stratford Principal George McCrackin said officers corralled a handful of students who left their normal spots. He said he watched a student run around the corner and warn others about the police, so officers went to get them. About 70 percent of the 107 students were black, McCrackin said. By that morning hour, two early buses from predominately black neighborhoods had dropped students at the school, he said. "The dog does not discriminate," he said about the 12 backpacks with residue. Barrow said the district would not take a position on whether police acted correctly. This is the first time officers have drawn weapons during a drug sweep in local schools, Barrow said. Sweeps happen periodically at high schools, at principals' request. Most high schools in the county have surveillance cameras, he said. "We understand students, parents and community concerns about this particular search," Barrow said. Berkeley County School Board Chairwoman Harriet Dangerfield said Stratford has had a drug problem for some time and she thinks drug-sniffing dogs should visit the school more often. Dangerfield, however, said she was disturbed by the use of guns during Wednesday's raid. "There is no reason to take guns into school and draw them on children," she said. Others, however, say the community needs to trust the police to take whatever action is necessary to address a drug problem that clearly exists in the schools. "I'm sure students were frightened, but the harm they're in with drug dealers is far greater than the police coming in," said Goose Creek resident Judy Watkins. "I trust them to do what's right. I appreciate what they did." Though the goal may be admirable, two legal experts said police and school officials went too far this time. "It's amazing. I've never heard of such a thing. I'm surprised, frankly, the police would go along with it," said Eldon Wedlock, University of South Carolina School of Law professor. "This is the kind of thing that really teaches kids a bad lesson about constitutional rights. They don't think they have any." School officials can conduct limited searches with reasonable suspicion, but authorities need probable cause that a crime has been committed before a person can be searched or arrested, Wedlock said. Sitting students on the floor constituted an arrest, he said. " 'Let's arrest them all and find out who the bad guys are,' you can't do that," he said. Waivers signed by students to permit searches don't change that, he said. "My understanding is you cannot condition going to school on a waiver of a constitutional right." "The law currently doesn't favor student rights," said Bernardine Dohrn, an attorney and the Children and Family Justice Center director at Northwestern University in Chicago. But the laws governing searches in schools are based on the rationale that the school is acting in the role of the parent, she said. "That is, they have the best interests of the students at heart. The best interests of students don't involve treating them like terrorists or criminals. Clearly, the search could have been carried out without weapons," she said. "Schools are the safest place in America," she said, although student search proponents suggest otherwise. "You want to make a situation where anyone who enters school with a gun a last resort. It doesn't bring safety. It brings fear and terror." Goose Creek police said information from a student and four days of video surveillance gave them probable cause for the search. Officers went in Wednesday only after McCrackin signaled that students had assumed their usual positions, Aarons said. State Education department spokesman Jim Foster said, "the short answer is probable cause" that made the search legal. Not so, said Graham Boyd, director of the drug policy project for the American Civil Liberties Union. Boyd said police must only target individual students suspected of drug activity. Boyd said police should have checked those students' bags in the principal's office. "You absolutely cannot bring police with guns drawn into a school," he said. Whether the school or police went too far is "ultimately a decision for the courts," Foster said. "Any student who believes his or her constitutional rights have been violated has the option to bring civil suit." Hoisington said he isn't ready to draw any conclusions, and he doesn't know if any of the police actions rise to the level of a criminal violation. He said he is concerned, however, about the officers' use of guns, the level of fear that was created and the use of restraints to hold students while the raid was conducted. "I've got some concerns about the physical restraint of somebody unless there is probable cause that they personally are guilty of a crime," he said. Drug sweeps are nothing new in Lowcountry schools, but Wednesday's operation looked more like a raid on a crack house than a typical narcotics check. Area law enforcement officials could not recall another occasion where police drew their weapons in such operations. Searches are generally for deterrence, however, not the result of specific drug information, said Berkeley school district spokeswoman Pam Bailey. Most area police departments use a less confrontational approach, using drug-sniffing dogs to find narcotics in cars or lockers while students are in classrooms. They may also have students vacate a classroom while the dogs check book bags for drugs. Constitutional provisions prevent officers from using the dogs to check the students themselves, police said. If the dogs pick up the scent of narcotics, a principal or teacher is asked to check for narcotics because they have authority over school grounds. If drugs are found, police will seize the narcotics and arrest the students involved. "We never use our guns and take people down," said North Charleston police Sgt. William Johnson, who supervises his department's K-9 unit which does 30 to 40 school sweeps per year. "In my personal opinion, I don't think it's necessary to pull guns on students for no reason and put them on the ground." If he had evidence of students dealing drugs, Johnson said, he would prefer to get warrants and arrest them in a classroom or some less congested setting. "That would be a more ideal situation," he said. Police reserve the use of weapons for situations where there is a perceived threat of harm to themselves or others. Some departments even require officers to fill out a special report whenever their weapons are drawn and explain the need for such action. "Obviously, if a police officer displays his or her weapon, there has to be a reason to do so; a threat to his safety or others," said Mount Pleasant police Lt. Shawn Livingston, who offered no judgment on the Stratford incident. Charleston County Sheriff's Capt. Dana Valentine said she was unaware of any instances where deputies drew their weapons during school drug sweeps, but she can envision situations where that might prove necessary. Deputies do three to four school drug sweeps per year.(snipped)
Got Rights? Write YOUR Lawmakers: Reschedule or Retire!
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Comment #26 posted by goneposthole on November 08, 2003 at 10:24:28 PT
eureka! problem solved
"Within the last three weeks, there's been an influx of drug activity. I've been in this business for 34 years, and I've never seen the amount of activity we've experienced recently," said McCrackinRush Limbaugh goes through 450,000 little blue babies, and nobody catches wind of it until after the fact. No police stormed the EIB building, nothing. Have all schools privately run by Republicans, and the drug problem at schools will be ignored completely. I guess that is how it works.
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Comment #25 posted by observer on November 08, 2003 at 09:56:45 PT
US Public Schools are Prisons
The point isn't so much to teach people, as it is to make them conform to the dictates of government bureaucrats. (Accent on the "make", as in "force" or "coerce".) A school with bars to keep kids in, a "lockdown" (note that "lockdown" is prison vocabulary), some fascist police with (real, literal, loaded) guns at your kids' heads is simply another aspect of the prison. Get used to it, Amerika: your love affair with forcing people to live up to your newly-minted morals begins with training children to accept a police state and a prison nation as completely normal. see John Taylor Gatto's excellent treatise on the US "public" (read: "government") school system, _Dumbing Us Down_, for more on what is the real purpose of the US schooling system. asked for it ... now enjoy your fascist police state to the fullest! 
drug news at the speed of bot -
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Comment #24 posted by Ron Bennett on November 08, 2003 at 09:52:38 PT
A spokesman added that although some officers had drawn their weapons they were "not pointing at the faces or heads of the students".Oh yeah that makes all the difference...NOT! Guess these folks who think it's ok to draw guns on kids have never watched old Westerns...only takes a split-second for an experienced shooter to aim and shoot.Click in ... I guess that was ok too? Perhaps that's where the police in the school video learned their technique?... LOL!Ron
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Comment #23 posted by The GCW on November 08, 2003 at 05:37:46 PT
MAP posted this news: from the UK.
US SC: Armed Police Storm School In Drugs Raid"Parents were outraged at the raid"
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Comment #22 posted by Virgil on November 08, 2003 at 04:52:35 PT
CNN article with video
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Comment #21 posted by jose melendez on November 08, 2003 at 03:41:25 PT
Created: Friday, November 07, 2003, at 22:13:02 EST 
Were officers justified in drawing their weapons during a high school drug sweep? 
Yes   41% 6128 votes 
No   59% 9001 votes Total: 15129 votes 
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Comment #20 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on November 08, 2003 at 03:08:41 PT
CNN poll
CNN's quickvote at the bottom of the front page asks if police were justified in drawing their weapons in this incident. The vote is 60% no and 40% yes.
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Comment #19 posted by i420 on November 07, 2003 at 23:18:05 PT
Two articles...Kernan tours prisons, seeks reforms to end crowding
Lawmakers are discussing changes to drug sentences. fresh look at drug laws
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on November 07, 2003 at 21:24:27 PT
That sure is a trick question. Yes it would influence my vote if a candidate was pro Cannabis but no it wouldn't influence my vote against him if he did smoke currently or in the past.
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Comment #17 posted by jose melendez on November 07, 2003 at 21:05:37 PT
trick question in O'Reilly poll
Would the fact that a Presidential candidate once smoked pot influence your vote? 
Would pot influence your vote? 
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Comment #16 posted by Adam1 on November 07, 2003 at 19:44:34 PT
A Rat And Pigs Invade "McCrackhead High"
 Darn straight theys doin it fer them Childruns Petard. It says they drew their weapons.....but did not use force? hmmmmm, does this sound like a contradiction to anyone else?
Principal George McCrackin sounds like he's got a little paranoia issue here. Thank God the police came in with guns blazin' forcing little kids face down on the floor. That makes me feel alot safer than high school kids smokin herb.Something tells me that the little 9th grader that filed the false report has bitten off alot more than he can chew. Now he's gotta look over both shoulders all the time(at least til his parents transfer him to another school). Ain't prohibition swell? Imagine this happening with alcohol or tobacco. 
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Comment #15 posted by Petard on November 07, 2003 at 19:12:14 PT
To the "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave", NOW get on the ground, hands behind your head. Face the ground dirtbag scum. Turn loose the dogs Billy Ray! We gots to put these children in jail. Never mind evidence, we'll make that up as we go or sometime later. Dang it, somebody move so I can shoot ya, I gots a hankerin' ta see what this new full auto weapon will do to tender flesh!Nothing says lovin' like military type tactical raid on schoolkids who've committed no crimes. Well, OK, maybe nothing else but prison rape and a criminal record that limits opportunities for the rest of their lives. But it's all for love. You can't spank, restrict activities, over nor under nourish, neglect, nor spoil your kids, but the police state can threaten them with deadly force, put them in bondage, kill, and incarcerate them.Remember, "it's for the children"!!!
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Comment #14 posted by mayan on November 07, 2003 at 18:10:00 PT
I wonder how those fascist rednecks would feel if the cops came into their workplace and ordered them to the ground at the point of a gun? This is outrageous!!!
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Comment #13 posted by The GCW on November 07, 2003 at 17:42:53 PT
Thanks Hope
I like a de poll.But that is right! 30+% support that type of love.The Green Collar Worker suggests a more loving form of love, and I'd use the word compassionate, but it's been over used by the repubs.Do You think the children sensed the finest were there to help them?What do We expect from police officers when We have them take an oath to get their job, to support mans laws over Christ God Our Father's?Police have what is known in the Bible as the "deluding influence". 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12subtitled: Man of Lawlessness (2 Th. 2:1-17 read the whole section)"For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 
12  in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." need to pray for police. They have been duped too.Which came first the dupe or the duped?Either way, today the police are doing plenty of the duping.(Can't hold it back...)Never try to teach a pig to sing; it only wastes Your time; and it annoys the pig.000000oOO0ooOThe "dope" is better than the dupe.oooo0oOOOO ahhhOo0
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Comment #12 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on November 07, 2003 at 17:27:53 PT
Network coverage
The surveillance video was shown briefly on ABC News tonight on a piece on zero-tolerance in schools.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on November 07, 2003 at 17:27:29 PT
I Changed The Picture
I thought this was something that should be kept.
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Comment #10 posted by kaptinemo on November 07, 2003 at 17:18:22 PT:
I couldn't pass up the chance to repost
Ziss vill shcare ze kiddies frrrom uzink drrrugs!Und mebbe vee kahn get zem to tell us vhere dee Jews, uh, er, zee Drrruggies are hidink!(To hysterically frightened little girl) Tell, me, liebchen, vhere are zee drrruggies hidink? Vell, vhen you shtop shcreaming, mebbe? (SLAP!) Zere, ist dat better? Heavy handed sarcasm? Not when you consider what has just happened has been warned about for years. When a guard dog snarls at it's handler, it's time to put it down. When police pull this kind of stunt, it's time for heads to roll.
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Comment #9 posted by BGreen on November 07, 2003 at 16:46:22 PT
The poll is from San Antonio, TX
The redneck comment still applies.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #8 posted by Prime on November 07, 2003 at 16:29:26 PT
With the hearts and minds of our youth...
Yeah, this is going to teach them a lesson. Maybe this was part of a WWII history lesson. An actual demonstration of Nazi authoritarianism.The real scary part about this is the poll on that SC news site. 37% of those rednecks think this is a good idea... to teach kids about the dangers of drugs.Only problem is... this one taught about the dangers of Police.
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Comment #7 posted by jose melendez on November 07, 2003 at 16:26:23 PT
survey says:
During a drug sweep at a South Carolina high school, police went in with guns and ordered students on the floor. They handcuffed those who didn't comply. No drugs were found. Is this type of search necessary to stop drugs in schools? Choice Votes Percentage of 3995 Votes 
Yes. It sends a strong message to students. 1457 36% No. This much force was unnecessary. 2538 64% 
Thanks for taking our survey! 
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Comment #6 posted by mamawillie on November 07, 2003 at 15:42:20 PT
principal arrested? why not!
I'd like to know why the principal wasn't arrested for filing a false police report.
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Comment #5 posted by Dan B on November 07, 2003 at 15:28:40 PT
These Cop Give Pigs A Bad Name
"Several officers did unholster their weapons in a tactical law enforcement approach," he said. "There was no force whatsoever. Everyone was very compliant."The unholstering and pointing of a loaded handgun is force. Period. The tapes of this incident, as shown on CNN, reveal that the students in the halls were told to lie down on the ground, which they did, at the end of a loaded handgun. There is more than one way to be brutal. This raid was abusive, morally wrong, and completely legally unjustified. Further, dogs alerted the cops to possible drugs in at least 12 backpacks, but those searches yielded nothing--a clear indication that drug dogs are absolutely useless at their jobs. They had 12 false positives in the same raid. Pathetic. I could do better than that by simply cecking backpacks at random.Furthermore, marijuana possession (by a minor or anyone else) is not a sufficiently heinous crime to justify unholstering a loaded handgun and waving around at the students. The police involved in this raid, from the top down, should be fired.Noting will happen to any cop involved with regard to this raid. "We were just doing our job. Nobody got hurt." As I said, there is more than one way to be brutal.Dan B
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on November 07, 2003 at 15:24:12 PT
Poll about the armed raid on highschool
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Comment #3 posted by AlvinCool on November 07, 2003 at 14:49:29 PT
If the police believe that the situation is so bad in that school that they must draw weapons and point them at the students, then that school should be shutdown. I mean the other students go there every day UN-ARMED, right?Then they found nothing.And the little girl. They come in and scare the crap out of everyone and nobody is concerned. Not as long as you get the little girl for telling a lie because she wanted to strike at the people that had come into her school in that horrible fashion. Would common sense just tell you to post officers outside the schools and do something when you actually see and tape a crime. This is going to scar her for life. IN my day you got special work and crap but you always had an option to being arrested and have a criminal record. While they are allowed to control teenagers with drawn weapons and everyone claps, even when nothing is found. How likely is that in the situation they describe in this article? 
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Comment #2 posted by druid on November 07, 2003 at 14:17:03 PT
another link to this BS
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Comment #1 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on November 07, 2003 at 13:16:46 PT
Not a total loss
They may not have found any "controlled" substances, but I'm sure the kids of Stratford High got quite an education!
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