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November 6, 2004 - The Ledger-Enquirer (GA)

Kids Terrorized At School

If We Were Producing A Video We Could Title It "Educators Gone Wild."

By Kaffie Sledge

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

About a year ago, the principal of a school in suburban Charleston, S.C., called the police into the school to search students allegedly suspected of possessing drugs.

I was reminded of that Nov. 4, 2003, incident earlier this week when the Ledger-Enquirer reported that a class of Russell County Middle School seventh-graders were strip-searched after a teacher said about $12 was missing from her purse.

The principal, assistant principal and a counselor reportedly took it upon themselves to conduct strip searches after the money was not found during searches of students' pockets and purses.

Students were taken to the restrooms. A female administrator accompanied the girls while the school's principal, Larry Screws, accompanied the boys.

In the restrooms, the students were asked to remove their garments and some underwear, the grandmother of one student said.

What were these adults thinking -- having children remove their underwear?

Sounds as though some intervention is needed. The students need to be able to talk to professionals -- not including the counselor who searched them - -- about that dehumanizing experience. And they need to know this is not acceptable behavior.

And there seem to be some anger management/control issues going on with the adults.

The Russell County Schools Code of Student Conduct states:

If the principal and his/her designee conclude that a more intrusive search ( i.e., a strip search ) is needed, they shall call the parents of the students involved and report their suspicions to the police, who shall be responsible for any such search. School employees shall not conduct such searches.

There is no indication that protocol was followed at Russell County Middle School.

In South Carolina, however, then-Principal George McCrackin said he had received reports from staff members and students at Stratford High School in Goose Creek, S.C., that there was a lot of drug activity, so he called the police and asked them to be there when one particular bus-load of students arrived.

"The volume and the amount of marijuana coming into the school is unacceptable," McCrackin said in defense of the terrorization of the students, which was caught on surveillance video. The video showed police waving their guns and searching lockers as students were flat on their stomachs or sides.

Guns at the ready, screaming police came into the school and ordered all students to lie on the floor and then handcuffed anyone who didn't comply quickly enough.

Students reported having guns placed to their heads and having teeth-bearing police drug dogs in their faces.

But both situations netted big, fat zeros. No drugs were found on the students at Stratford High, and no money was found on the students at Russell County Middle School.

Some of our educators really have gone wild.

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