Dozens of high school students who were subjected to an armed drug raid of their school will split $1.2 million under a settlement preliminarily approved by a federal judge Tuesday. The fourteen officers who entered Stratford High School in Goose Creek, SC in November 2003 with guns drawn found no drugs or weapons, and made no arrests.
“It appears the Goose Creek Police Department succeeded only in finding the one drug-free high school in America,” said Kris Krane, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “These poor students truly deserve this settlement, but no amount of money can ever make up for the terror that police and school officials put them through.”
Although most students at Stratford are white, Principal George McCrackin ordered the raid to take place early in the morning when the overwhelming majority of those present in the hallway were black. Black students at Stratford disproportionately live in communities that require them to be bussed in earlier than other students. Principal McCrackin resigned shortly after dramatic surveillance camera tapes of the raid were widely publicized.
The class action lawsuit against the Goose Creek police and the Berkeley County School District was brought on behalf of fifty-nine students involved in the raid. The proposed settlement would create two classes of affected students. Students in the first class, those named in the suit and those who received psychological counseling after the raid, could receive about $11,000 each. The second class would include other students in the hallway during the raid, who could receive about $6,000 each. The specific amount of money awarded to each class will depend on how many of the approximately 140 eligible students elect to take part in the settlement.
Sign up to receive periodic news updates and action alerts from SSDP: