Friday, December 23, 2005

How much is justice worth?

Associated Press is reporting that the students involved in the horrid 2003 drug raid at Stratford High School in Goose Creek, SC could receive around $9,000 each in a settlement with the police department and the school district.

But lawyers on both sides caution the deal is far from done.

“Ultimately, the whole thing could fall apart,” said Gregg Meyers, a lawyer for the students. “This is a work in progress.”

Following the Nov. 5, 2003, drug search, 59 students and their families sued the Goose Creek Police Department and Berkeley County School District, claiming the sweep violated their constitutional rights. U.S. District Judge Michael Duffy combined three lawsuits last year and appointed a mediator. Previous settlement negotiations have broken down. The most recent talks started in August.

As you may remember, the raid stirred lots of controversy after the school's security videotapes were released, showing police officers pointing loaded guns at terrified students. No drugs or weapons were found in the raid, and most of the students involved were black (despite the fact that the majority of students at Stratford are white).

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Many of us were left wondering if the Goose Creek Police Department had actually found the only drug-free school in America.

But seriously, how do you determine the amount of money these students should be awarded to compensate for the terror they suffered as a result of official incompetence? Ultimately, the value of the impending court victory will be measured not in dollars, but in terms of the message it sends to drug warriors all around the country:
Lawyers for the students feel their work has assured a similar drug sweep does not occur in the future.

2 comments:

800 pound gorilla said...

The comment "did the police find the only drug free school" is a ridiculous statement. The only "drug free" school is one that is located inside a bubble, where people are intrevenously nourished, immobile, and totally non interactive. This use of misleading drug war language is so unavoidable - even by people such as us who know the War on Drugs is a total scam.
Our parents, unless they were strict Christian Scientists, experimented with drugs with us - without our permission from the earliest of ages. Whether it was children's strength Tylenol or other drugs for aches, pains and minor illnesses. How else would we know if we were allergic to medications if we didn't experiment? And yes, every banned drug has a long history of bonafide use in a medicinal manner. If anyone says different they are lying! And you won't get them to face you in a public debate forum because they know that they are lying.
I spent over 8 hours after I wrote The Original Drug Manual for Kids to edit out misleading drug war language. There are no such things as recreational drugs, gateway drugs, side effects, and addictive drugs; they are terms invented to justify prohibition. The biggest drug problem - by far - in this country is health-related drug dependencies. And there is no mention of that problem in any of your school's so called drug education. They don't even keep stats on that. Are they trying to avoid stigmatizing half of the adult population over 50? The drug warriors seem to have no problem [or shame] in stigmatizing anyone else who uses arbitrarily banned drugs. Come over to my amateurish blog at www.originaldrugmanualforkids/blog and post comments on blogs that carefully avoid the pollution that the Drug War has done on our language.

Micah Daigle said...

JT,

Thanks for your input, but I think you missed the sarcasm is Tom's statement.

Of course we know that "drug free schools" don't exist, and as you rightly point out, even Tylenol is a drug. It is truly surprising that no illegal drugs were found in the Goose Creek raid, and it's pretty apparent that Tom's comment was a tongue-in-cheek joke meant at exposing the ridiculousness of the "drug-free school" concept.

IMO, the best way to clean up the "pollution that the Drug War has done [to] our language" is not to avoid it, but to pick it up and recycle it. We need to use and re-use DrugWar rhetoric in our own contexts until we turn it into something useable.

In this case, Tom used humor to show that "drug-free" has become a laughable phrase. Without humor, activists become zealots.