Saturday, June 12, 2004

ACLU fights for student's civil rights

It's funny how all these little cosmic connections are happening between my life here in lovely downtown Noho and my cyberlife in Detroit. A couple of days ago, Detroit joined the growing list of communities with anti-Patriot Act resolutions. That movement started here.

I'm an integral part of the ACLU here in WMass. Now, the Michigan chapter of the ACLU filed suit against the City of Detroit over illegal searches of the students during random drug sweeps. The school claims they are searching for weapons but the results of the sweeps belie that notion and do not justify the mass violation of civil rights.

Conducting commando style SWAT team raids in public schools is the single most dunderheaded tactic in the war on some drugs. I have long maintained that treating school children like criminals without any probable cause makes them less safe - not more. It may nominally keep them from bringing drugs to school but it will not stop them from experimenting with mood-altering substances and it will stop them from asking for help. Not to mention that a child will live up (or down) to your expectations. A teenager who is unjustly treated with suspicion will see no reason to later behave in a trustworthy manner.


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