Saturday, September 16, 2006

Take Action NOW: Stop School Drug Searches

Click here to send a letter to Congress, urging them to reject the school search bill.

I've got good news and bad news.

The good news is that when Students for Sensible Drug Policy asked you to take action against the deceptively named "Student and Teacher Safety Act of 2006," our supporters came through in a big way. 1,646 of you sent letters to Congress demanding that students' constitutional right to privacy be protected from the expansion of locker and backpack searches in middle and high schools.

Legislators took note of your overwhelming response and scaled back some of the bill’s scariest language. Now, instead of inventing a whole new looser justification for student searches ("colorable suspicion"), the bill requires stricter "reasonable suspicion."

But the bad news is that the new broadly worded bill would still allow school officials to search dozens or even hundreds of students based on the mere suspicion that one student brought drugs to school. This kind of justification allowed police officers to storm a high school in Goose Creek, SC, in 2003, forcing dozens of students to the ground and pointing guns directly at their faces during a misguided raid in which no drugs were found.

And the news gets worse: The bill could come to a vote on the House floor as soon as this week! To help us stop this bill in its tracks, please send a letter to your member of Congress right now by visiting

The sponsor of the new offensive school searches bill, Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY), is facing a tough reelection battle this November and has convinced the House leadership to take up the bill so he can tell his constituents he’s done something in Washington, DC. Congressional leaders are circumventing the democratic process and are bringing this bill directly to the House floor, completely skipping committee debate and approval. The silver lining is that because of this procedural move, the bill needs a 2/3 vote in order to pass, so we have a real chance to stop it – but we can only do so if you take action immediately.

We expect a vote as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, so we need you to take action now to stop this bill in its tracks and make sure there’s never another horrific incident like the one in Goose Creek.

Please send a letter to your member of Congress right away by visiting

If you have an extra two minutes, please call your member of Congress and ask him or her to vote against the school searches bill when it comes to the House floor this week. If you don't know who your House representative is, simply call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and give them your address. They'll connect you directly with your representative's office. When you get a staffer on the phone, politely say something like:

"My name is [your name] and I live in [your city]. I'm calling to urge [the congressman/the congresswoman] to vote against the deceptively named 'Student and Teacher Safety Act' when it comes to the floor this week. The bill would allow schools and police to invasively search large groups of innocent students based on the mere suspicion that just one of them has drugs. I hope [the congressman/the congresswoman] will respect young people’s dignity by voting against H.R. 5295. Thank you."

When you're done, please forward this alert to your friends and family. Without your help, we won’t be able to ensure that there are no more Goose Creeks.

And if you can afford it, please consider making a financial contribution – large or small – to SSDP's efforts to beat back the government's Drug War attacks on young people at

Thanks for continuing to support SSDP. We'll continue to keep you informed about our efforts to foster drug policies that respect and protect young people.

Kris Krane
Executive Director
Students for Sensible Drug Policy

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Why, Post 9-11, Are Dems Still Fighting the Drug War?"

That's what Maia Szalavitz at the Huffington Post would like to know. And so would I.

(Although I wouldn't be so quick to bash Public Citizen, since they did defend SSDP pro-bono in our successful lawsuit against the Dept. of Education).