Mass Searches and Seizures in Schools


School Raid

While some adults believe all high school students deserve to be handcuffed and held at gunpoint because of their behavior or attitudes, in this country even people with ’tude aren’t supposed to be treated like criminals. But if some in the House of Representatives get their way, that will change and raids on high schools like the one at Stratford High could become more common.

In November 2003 Goose Creek, S.C. police stormed the school hallway with guns drawn. They ordered nearly 150 students to the floor, handcuffing those who complied too slowly. Graphic videos from high school security cameras were shown repeatedly on national network television news programs.

Even though the school district and police have paid over $1.6 million dollars to settle a lawsuit brought by the victims, a bill in Congress, H.R. 5295, would make it dramatically easier for schools to engage in abusive mass searches. Called the “Student and Teacher Safety Act of 2006,” the bill would require school districts to deem a search of any juvenile student on public school grounds to be “reasonable and permissible if conducted by a full-time teacher or school official, acting on any colorable suspicion based on professional experience and judgment, to ensure that the school remain free of all weapons, dangerous materials or illegal narcotics,” according to the Library of Congress.

School districts that fail to deem such searches reasonable and permissible would lose federal Safe Schools and Citizenship Education funds.

Terms such as “reasonable” and “suspicion,” without any threshold of proof. give this bill a loophole large enough to drive a truck through. Drug-law reform groups haven’t missed that point.

“House of Representatives leadership, reportedly to help the bill’s sponsor with his reelection campaign, have bypassed the committee process and brought the bill forward under ‘suspension,’ a procedure in which Congress must take an up or down vote with no opportunity for amendments,” according to StopTheDrugWar.org.

Even though the school district and police have paid over $1.6 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the victims, a bill in Congress, H.R. 5295, would make it dramatically easier for schools to engage in abusive mass searches.

“House of Representatives leadership, reportedly to help the bill’s sponsor with his re-election campaign, have bypassed the committee process and brought the bill forward under ‘suspension,’ a procedure in which Congress must take an up or down vote with no opportunity for amendments,” according to StopTheDrugWar.org. “Because suspension requires a two-thirds vote for a bill to pass, our chances of defeating the bill are good. It’s scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, Sept. 19. That means your letters and phone calls to Congress are needed now.”

Take a few seconds to send an e-mail using a quick form. It just takes a moment to find your elected officials and customize the e-mail.

Call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Look up your elected representatives and call to express your opposition to H.R. 5295.

Even if you don’t like teenagers, if their rights are eroded in this manner, yours could be next — all for your own protection in a war we’re losing.

— Margo Pierce

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Porkopolis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: