Thursday, December 12, 2013

School Searches in Howell

I'll start with this. I hate drugs. I hate the War on (some) Drugs more. The price to pay in the War on Drugs isn't worth the cost. 

It's a different era of school security since I was a student. We didn't have lockdown drills in my day. Things changed heavily after Columbine. Today there is an era of zero sense, I mean zero tolerance, students being arrested for pointing fingers like a gun, police involvement and criminal charges for everything, and comparisons to prison. I'd hate to be a student these days. I'd be lucky to avoid expulsion and spent enough time in the principal's office back in the day as it was. I've never been good with authority. It's why I'm not a democrat. Too many authoritarians.

One thing we all need to remember with the public school system is that these are government officials, and they all have direct lines to the police. If you are a student reading this and are accused of something that could in ANY way be a police matter, don't cooperate with the administration. You have rights, and should use them in a respectful manner. Treat them as cops, and use your 5th Amendment rights. TALK TO A LAWYER. You do not want to end up with a felony or misdemeanor on your record and following you for the rest of your life affecting your future. If it costs you a suspension for insubordination, it's a smaller price to pay than a criminal record. This is a great video here on why you don't talk to the police.

Now this story has my guard up. I don't know all the facts, so I'm admitting to speculation. From the Argus

Some Howell High School students are protesting recent lockdown drills at their school, calling them little more than random drug searches in disguise.
“The big issue is that the school is telling us something that really isn’t true,” said senior Cassie Bondie, who sent an email detailing the concerns to school officials as well as the Daily Press & Argus.
“They should just be honest,” said recent graduate Renee Augustyn of the purpose behind the lockdown drills.
But school officials say they are being as honest as they can.
During the drills, students place their backpacks in a common area for inspection.
“They are lockdown drills but we have brought drug-sniffing dogs in based on information we’ve received,” Howell Public Schools Superintendent Ron Wilson said. “Obviously, we can’t tip our hand.”
Lockdown drills are conducted to practice the procedures to be used should an intruder attempt to enter the building.
Dogs from the Michigan State Police were twice brought in this semester, Wilson said.
“A cache of marijuana” was discovered during one of the searches, he said.
“We have had searches, as have other school districts in our area,” Wilson said, adding that, other than Bondie’s letter, the searches have been conducted without criticism from students or the public.
There was not a search when there was an actual lockdown this semester when a man attempted to enter the high school after trying to enter Hartland High School.
The issue prompted a lively discussion on student Facebook pages.
Bondie and others quoted in her email say they aren’t defending illegal drug use but say the procedure violates school policy and breaks the trust between administrators and students.
Students said they were concerned that randomly searching their personal property, rather than searching suspected school lockers, was a step too far.
“I know that if it happens again, some students won’t be putting their bags out,” Bondie said.
But Wilson said the searches were well within district policies and procedures.

First off, don't do drugs or bring them into school. That said, courts have rules that dog sniffs are not a violation of the 4th Amendment as they aren't considered searches. They can lead to probable cause and a search if the German Shepherd gets a hit.

"I don't do drugs. I have nothing to hide."

If some druggie gets rid of the drugs by sticking them in your bag without you knowing, you have plenty to hide. Why would he do that? He's panicking and needs to discard evidence. Anywhere possible.

I recommend keeping the bags on you at all times in these drills or leaving them in the locker (or vehicle). If the bags are being opened up, refuse. This isn't about safety, but control.


Jordan Genso said...

I think you and I are on the exact same page with this one.

Jordan Genso said...

Dan, if you are opposed to authoritarian laws, what's your position on State Sen. Hune's SB 275? This isn't some sort of snarky question or anything, but an actual inquiry as to whether or not you see the bill the same way I do.

Jordan Genso said...

I'll take your silence as telling me all I need to know about it, since you can't actually voice criticisms as the LCRP Chair.

Dan said...

I don't have a problem with drug tests for welfare recipients. The reason being is that there is (or shouldn't be) any fundamental right to welfare or government benefits. It is a choice to take government benefits. I don't want my tax money going to drugs, either directly or indirectly.

Now if that included police searches of the person's property without warrants, I'd have a problem with that.

Jordan Genso said...

Your last sentence contradicts your first, as most people recognize their bodily fluids as their own personal property.

Regardless, you should have to admit that the legislation is authoritarian in nature. You can say it is justified, but it's undeniably authoritarian. (and those in favor of authoritarian laws you don't like also have justifications for their support)