Monday, February 23, 2004
We've Got Mail

Pat Conroy, the South Haven principal who planted drugs in a locker in an attempt to set up a student for a bust, has a defender. A South Haven resident sends this in response to our earlier post.

i saw this article on or something and it said that you posted it. I'd like to request that you remove it. The south west Michigan media is notoriously bias and there is a great deal of controversy over the coverage of the event. If you reread the article, I'm sure you'll notice some very BIG holes. It says that he planted the drugs last year. If he were trying to frame a student, it would have been in that student's locker, correct? If it was planted last year, that student would have probably found it, don't you think? The fact that it was still there implies that it was a locker with no occupant. Also, the article says that the drug dogs didn't find anything. Why, then, would Conroy admit his crime?

When you consider these question it becomes clear what happened. South Haven High school is indeed saturated with drugs, especially marijuana. Approximately twice per year, drug dogs would go through the halls and continuously come up with nothing. He put pot (which he confiscates from students daily) in an empty locker to see if the dogs would find it. They didn't. He said, "Hey look, here's some, your dogs are not good sniffers." Cops get pissed that he made them look foolish and arrest him. Cops give the papers the story they want told. Conroy is only asked the question "how do you feel about what you did" "well, it was definitely stupid, but also unethical." But was there a single "fact" stated by that article that wasn't obviously taken from the police force?

If you want a martyr. Choose somebody who deserves it. Or at the least, a believable story.

I've withheld this woman's name out of respect for her privacy, however we did answer her:

Dear Ms. O----:

Thank you for your thoughts on my post. I appreciate your concern for your community and your schools, however, I am not willing to remove the post.

By your own observations, Conroy admitted he did a stupid and unethical thing. Why would he admit it if he was innocent? If Mr. Conroy was indeed framed, that will come out in court and I will certainly update the story, however as you observed yourself, Conroy admitted he planted the pot in anticipation that the dogs would find it, knowing full well the student in question would suffer severe consequences. This is not only unethical and stupid, it's a betrayal of his duty to protect and teach your children. What do you suppose the students will learn from this other than they can't trust the school administrators?

Further as you also observed, these drug sweeps (conducted by the way, at great expense to the taxpayer), are a useless invasion of the student's privacy, since they have had no effect in keeping drugs out of your schools and now Conroy would use this as a tool to wrongfully punish a student he 'suspected' of being a drug dealer.

We have maintained for months now, that these sweeps do more harm than good, and Mr. Conroy's actions prove that. If you want to keep drugs out of your schools, then you should be insisting your administrators stop wasting money on treating your children like criminals without due cause and demand the funds be used for direct educational aid such as restoring arts and music programs that I'm sure have been eliminated at your school as they have across the country as prison costs consume state budgets at the expense of not only education but other municipal necessities like police and firefighters.

Hope we got through to her.


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