caught on tape: authority behaving badly
[click for bigger image]Goose Creek, South Carolina: Gun-toting police burst into a South Carolina high school, ordering students to lie down in hall ways as they searched for drugs.
They were looking for prescription drugs and marijuana. They found nothing. At the principal's request, the police came into the high school for a drug sweep with guns drawn, ordering students to get on the ground. Guns were pointed directly at the kids [You can see the video here. Watch it.]
The school's principal defends the dramatic sweep, caught on the school's surveillance tape. Police came into the school with guns at the ready, ordered all students to lie on the floor and then handcuffed anyone who apparently didn't comply quickly enough.
"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.
It looks to me like the police came in with an "everybody's guilty until proven otherwise" stance. Were the handcuffs and guns necessary for a potential marijuana bust?
If this happened at my child's school I would be raising holy hell. Not only would I want the police department to account for their over-zealous actions, I would also ask that the principal be fired. If he has lost control of his school to the point that drug dealing is rampant, then he should find another way to deal with the problem - one that doesn't include guns and handcuffs for innocent kids.
The Post And Courier newspaper in Charleston reports the high school is one of the largest in the state with 2,760 students. It has an academic reputation as one of the Lowcountry's best.
So, there are almost 3,000 kids in the school and probably a handful of them are dealing/using recreational drugs. What's a prinicpal to do? How about trying to root out the kids who are actually doing the dealing? The school does have survelliance cameras. But....
The paper quoted Lt. Dave Aarons of the Goose Creek Police Department as saying that the suspected drug dealers appeared to be knowledgeable about where the school surveillance cameras were. He said he watched school surveillance tapes from four days that showed students congregating under cameras, periodically walking into a bathroom with different students and coming out moments later.
So they know where the kids who are dealing are doing it. They know where the kids who are buying are doing it. From the tapes, they can probably figure out the most popular times for the students to head into the bathrooms to make their deals.
Not only that, but if they were able to watch the tapes as the deals happened, what would stop them from going into the bathroom right after the kids on the camera went in and trying to bust them in action?
Now they have undone years of training the students to trust Mr. Policeman, he is your friend. They have unecessarily frightened innocent kids.
The most disturbing part of this is that neither the principals nor the police department see anything wrong with their actions.