Pubdate: Sat, 08 Nov 2003
Source: Times and Democrat, The (SC)
Copyright: 2003, The Times and Democrat


Goose Creek, S.C. (AP) -- An effort to stem a growing drug problem at a 
Lowcountry high school netted no illegal narcotics but did get some complaints.

Fourteen officers cordoned off the main hallway of Stratford High School at 
6:40 a.m. Wednesday to search for marijuana. No drugs were found.

"Several officers did unholster their weapons in a tactical law enforcement 
approach," Lt. Dave Aarons of the Goose Creek Police Department said. 
"There was no force whatsoever. Everyone was very compliant."

One ninth-grader was charged with filing a false police report after she 
said an officer shoved her to the ground during the search, Aarons said. 
Principal George McCrackin said he, other school officials and the girl's 
parent reviewed video surveillance tapes and determined she wasn't even in 
that hall at the time.

McCrackin said he had talked with police about what he called a growing 
drug problem at the school.

"Within the last three weeks, there's been an influx of drug activity," he 
said. "I've been in this business for 34 years, and I've never seen the 
amount of activity we've experienced recently."

Aarons said he watched school surveillance tapes from four days that showed 
students congregating under cameras, periodically walking into a bathroom 
with different students and coming out moments later.

During Wednesday's raid, officers and school employees sealed off the main 
hallway. There were 107 students who happened to be in the hallway at the time.

Police told the students to sit on the floor and put their hands out, 
McCrackin said. Officers searched only book bags that the police dog 
responded to, not students, he said.

About 2,760 students attend Stratford High, the largest school in Berkeley 
County and among the largest statewide. Two officers work in the school 
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens