Monday, February 14, 2011

Goose Creek, South Carolina, School Raid

Jim Behr

Assistant Editor

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On November 5, 2003, police raided Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina, in an effort to purge the school of drugs. The school principal ordered the raid after being tipped off by an informant that drugs were being sold openly by students on school grounds.

School and police cameras captured officers bursting into the school hallway and waving their guns at 130 students, pointing guns at students' heads, handcuffing them, and making them lie on the floor or kneel with their faces to the wall while an officer with a drug-sniffing dog searched backpacks and other belongings.

No drugs were found and no arrests were made.

"I assumed that they were trying to protect us, that it was like Columbine, that somebody got in the school that was crazy or dangerous," one student told The New York Times. "But then a police officer pointed a gun at me. It was really scary."

The American Civil Liberties Union later filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging Fourth Amendment search-and-seizure violations and concerns that the raid may have been racially motivated: 70% of the raided students were black, though less than 25% of the school's student population is black.

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