Pointing Guns At Students For Their Own Good

Added on by PS Cat02.

I came across the Stratford High School incident a couple of years ago when I was doing some research on the so-called 'War on Drugs'. I mentioned the incident in passing conversation with Pinky this morning and she hadn't heard of it. I showed her some photos of the police raid and she was shocked; subsequently she asked me to mention it here.

In November 2003, Goose Creek (South Carolina) police conducted an armed raid at Stratford High School, ostensibly to find drugs and weapons. Guns were drawn and pointed at students as they were told to lie on the ground with their hands behind their heads. Police dogs were also used to search for drugs. No drugs or weapons were found.

Here is some school 'security' video, plus police video of the event:

There it is. - Daisy.


[ Bunny: Daisy, what was the reaction from the community - esp. the students and their families? ]


[ follow-up note from Daisy: The response was mixed. The ACLU later brought a class action suit on behalf of some of students at the school against the City of Goose Creek and the police department. However, some students, staff, and parents defended the actions of the police and school principal:

Others can't say enough good things about [School Principal] McCrackin. The Stratford High Student Council sent a letter to the Berkeley County School Board in support of the principal. Describing him as a "dedicated, selfless individual," the students said he puts them first.

"When asked why, on his school walkie-talkie, his number was 2, he said that this was because his students were number one," the letter stated. "He would not do anything to endanger his students or do anything without probable cause."

On Friday, students and teachers held a rally outside the Crowfield Boulevard school. They held signs encouraging motorists to honk if they supported McCrackin.

Junior Lauren Shull, whose mother teaches at Stratford, said she stands behind the actions of the school and the police.

"They're trying to keep the school safe," the 16-year-old said.

(from The State (South Carolina), Answers elusive in school raid, November 16, 2003)

Actually, what was most remarkable to me, even more than the actual events depicted in video, was the inability or unwillingness of the above students to recognize state violence. ]


[ Pinky: Thanks Daisy. Just in case some of our readers may not be familiar with the term 'state violence', can you please explain what you mean by that in a nutshell? ]


[ Kim: And using small words? ]


[ Daisy: The kind of state violence I was referring to here is the use of force by a state against its own citizenry. State violence can target its victims in various ways - physical harm, systematic violations of rights or freedoms, mental / psychic / symbolic warfare, etc. State violence serves the interests of the state, is coded (and widely accepted by the citizenry) as 'legitimate', and generally goes unpunished. In contrast, forms of violence that do not serve the interests of the state are criminalized and the 'individual perpetrators' punished, usually by being sent to jail, but other times 'only' brutalized, or simply killed by agents of the state (police, FBI, etc.).

Of course there are other kinds of state violence, such as when it's directed towards people of another country. The most well-known example is just called 'war', but there are other classes as well. ]