Pubdate: Sat, 5 Jan 2008
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2008 The Decatur Daily
Author: Nancy Glasscock, Staff Writer
Cited: East Lawrence High Principal
Poster: Posters feature a masked face with red eyes and a message 
telling anyone 'selling death' they have no place to hide.


East Lawrence High Principal Excited About New Progam

TRINITY - After serving two tours of duty in Iraq, East Lawrence High 
Principal and Army Reserve Lt. Col. Ricky Nichols said he knows what 
it takes to combat terrorists.

Nichols, who has served in the military 24 years, said he hopes the 
same skills will help him keep drugs out of the classroom. Nichols 
spearheaded a program called Operation Bounty Hunter in December, 
after county authorities arrested several students on drug charges.

The program includes $100 cash rewards for students who submit tips 
leading to drug arrests. School officials will keep the identities of 
students who submit tips confidential, Nichols said.

Friday, Nichols said local residents had donated $1,100 to fund the program.

"We're excited about the possibility of what could happen," he said. 
"We don't really know what to expect at this point."

For too long, school officials have been "on the defensive" when 
dealing with drugs and weapons, he said.

"No one has ever won a war on the defensive," he said.

Nichols said he wanted to try something different to attack what he 
said is the "center of gravity" for drug dealers. Dealers rely most 
on the trust of people buying drugs and the complacency of others, 
Nichols said.

Posters are hanging in East Lawrence High hallways and in local 
businesses featuring a masked face with red eyes and a message 
telling anyone "selling death" they have no place to hide.

Nichols said T-shirts featuring the message will soon be available to 
students and school staff. Even if student participation starts 
slowly, Nichols said, he is confident the program will be a success.

"It may start slowly, with students testing the water," he said. "It 
will take a little while to get over the stigma of being a snitch. 
But it's not being a snitch.  What they're doing is very valuable. 
They're performing a means by which to do away with something that is 
illegal and harmful to their friends."

Nichols said he would explain details of the program to students when 
they return to school Monday.

He said the Lawrence County School Board and other members of the 
community support the program.

"I'm excited about it," Superintendent Dexter Rutherford said.

"We're always looking for ways to gain an advantage over the few 
folks that are selling drugs."

Nichols said East Lawrence High will continue to accept donations for 
the program.

To contribute, send donations to Operation Bounty Hunter, East 
Lawrence High, 55 Lawrence County 370, Trinity, AL 35673. 
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