Students Accept Search Rule 

Students Accept Search Rule 
Posted by FoM on December 05, 1999 at 08:26:06 PT
By Faith Johnson, Staff Writer 
Source: Augusta Chronicle
In the four months since they began searching students' cars for drugs, weapons and other items that violate school policy, Richmond County public safety officers have encountered only three violators.
Officials say the small number of cases means the program is working. Some students, who were at first wary of the policy, say it's not as bad as they had imagined.The school system began a policy in August that requires students who buy parking permits, and their parents, to sign a waiver allowing their cars to be searched randomly. School officials say the policy is part of a plan to ensure a safe and weapons-free environment.And though the number of parking permits has decreased since last year from 1,670 to 1,342, officials say the policy is not necessarily to blame.``It could be tied to a drop in enrollment in the high schools or the new driver's license requirements for 16-year-olds,'' said Superintendent Charles Larke. ``But I'm not concerned about how many parking permits we sell. I'm concerned about students who drive cars on campus, that they know cars will not be a place where they can hide weapons or drugs.''Since August, officers have taken weapons, drugs and drug-use equipment from students' cars.``We search just about every day,'' said Sgt. Jackie Turner of the district's public safety department. ``At the high schools they do what is called plain-view searches. They randomly go out and search most or all the vehicles or select a particular parking lot.''When there is reasonable suspicion, officers call students to their cars for permission to search the automobiles. If permission is not given, the officers secure the vehicle until a search warrant is obtained, Sgt. Turner said.``Fortunately, we have not had to go to this level, due to the fact that students have been cooperative,'' she said.Public safety Officer Dana Byrd said his searches at the Academy of Richmond County High School mostly reveal cigarettes, lighters, money and other valuables in plain view.One of the district's most serious cases occurred this year at the Academy of Richmond County. On Oct. 22, officers saw a crack pipe in a student's car, Sgt. Turner said. The district's drug dog, Buddy, and his handler were called, and a search of the student's locker revealed a necklace with marijuana seeds interwoven in it. Students at the Academy of Richmond County said they don't much mind the policy.``At first I was concerned,'' said Michael Willis, a senior who drives to school. ``But I don't think it has caused any big problems. They are just concerned for our safety.''His classmate Paul Stuntz, who also drives to school, said the policy is a good idea.``We don't want anybody coming into our school with a gun, and if they have drugs in the car it's illegal and they should be taken to jail,'' Paul said.In other recent violations:Sept. 2: At Hephzibah High School, an officer saw a plastic bag in a student's car and what were believed to be marijuana seeds. After getting permission to search the car, the officer found half of a marijuana cigarette. The officer said the student admitted smoking it on the way to school.Sept. 23: An officer looked inside a car at Butler High that had no parking permit and saw what he believed to be marijuana on the floor. The student gave permission for the car to be searched. The officer found a small amount of marijuana and two knives in the trunk.Dr. Larke said the word seems to be getting out.``I expected the policy would be publicized well and curb that kind of behavior,'' Dr. Larke said. ``I thought if kids knew we were going to do searches of cars, it would serve as a deterrent to them bring drugs and weapons to school.''Reach Faith Johnson at (706) 823-3765.Published: December 4, 1999ęCopyright The Augusta Chronicle
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 05, 1999 at 13:55:56 PT
Parents must be a sleep or something!
It really is troubling to me to see this happen. I don't understand how people don't see it happening. I am glad I don't have a child in the school system. I went to Catholic school and we had strick guidelines but no one would have considered anything like this at all! That would have been considered immoral and just wasn't done.PS: We had drugs in school too! Not many but they were there!
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on December 05, 1999 at 13:32:52 PT
Fascism starts at home...and the schools
It would seem the school system is intent upon teaching more than reading, writing and 'rithmetic; it is also laying the foundations for the elimination of democracy.What are we teaching the kids? By example, we are teaching them to distrust their own children, someday. We are teaching them that despite the daily paeans to democracy they hear every day, democracy does not exist for them. Indeed, it can be subverted at the whim of any police officer. Random searches, based upon 'hunches' and not a shred of probable cause, can be performed upon them and no one cares. And the crowning irony of it all is that it is all being done...'for their own good.' The same excuse tyrants have used for millenia.So don't be surprised some day, Mom and Dad, if alcohol becomes illegal again and your own children turn you in for having a beer. After all, you taught them that to have that mythical 'drug free' security, they have to give some liberties; well, didn't you?
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