Press Release  | 01/06/2004

South Carolina Principal Who Ordered Armed School Drug Raid Resigns

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Drug Policy Alliance Warns That Violent Search is Natural Extension of Guilty-Until-Proven-Innocent Logic Behind Student Drug Testing Policies

On Monday, January 5, George McCrackin, the principal of Stratford High School
in Goose Creek, South Carolina, resigned from his position. He orchestrated a controversial November 6th drug raid at the school, where students were ordered to the floor at gunpoint by police--and no drugs were found.

"McCrackin did the right thing by resigning," said Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Since when do we send armed police officers into schools to terrorize schoolchildren?" Far from considering the Goose Creek storming an isolated incident, Nadelmann sees the raid as the natural outgrowth of other zero tolerance drug policies in our schools.

"The logic behind the raid and drug testing without cause is the same: It's OK to let our constitutional rights slide when we're trying to combat drug abuse by our children," he said. "But if we allow all students to be presumed guilty, the leap between a nurse with a urine cup and a cop with a gun is not as big as it seems. It's just a different kind of search."

Goose Creek received national attention because of the violent nature of the incident, and because of allegations of racism. While the school's student population is predominantly white, the students involved in the raid were predominantly African American. The controversy attracted the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who organized a hundreds-strong protest, as well as two lawsuits, including one filed by the ACLU on behalf of students. McCrackin's resignation follows weeks of speculation about Stratford High's future.

"Let this be a clear message to school administrators and law enforcement that students shall not be treated as criminals in school," said Darrell Rogers, National Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.



Tony Newman at 212-613-8026 or Elizabeth Mendez Berry at 212-613-8036

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