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Raid On School Excessive

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Action Undermines Confidence In Authorities To Act Sensibly

We support the goal of a drug-free environment for the teenagers studying
in high schools around our state. We back the parents, educators and law
enforcement officers who strive each day for an orderly, lawful and safe
school environment. So there is no way we can back last week's armed
incursion into Berkeley County's Stratford High School.

It was an extreme, unnecessary gesture, unwarranted by the principal's
description of suspected drug activity in the area.

There were more than 100 young people in the school hallway. They and their
peers will never forget the unfair taint that comes from being cuffed,
forced to the floor and threatened with a gun at 6:45 in the morning.

Concerns have been raised that this raid was racially motivated, and that
question must be explored.

Subsequent statements by the police did not help their cause. They
attempted to downplay the overzealous brandishing of guns.

These teenagers who arrived at school on a bus certainly weren't going
anywhere fast. They could have been searched without the excessive force

In addition, the search could have better targeted specific individuals
whose actions had raised suspicions of drug sales or use.

As it unfolded, this raid has undermined public and parental confidence in
the ability of schools and law enforcement to exercise authority sensibly.

Pubdate: Sun, 23 Nov 2003
Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2003 The Charlotte Observer
Contact: opinion@charlotteobserver.com
Website: Breaking News, Sports, Weather & More | The Charlotte Observer