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November 2012
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Go Directly to Jail

Do not pass go, do not go to the lunchroom.

At 9 a.m. on the morning of October 31, 2012, students at Vista Grande High School in Casa Grande were settling in to their daily routine when something unusual occurred.

Vista Grande High School Principal Tim Hamilton ordered the school — with a student population of 1,776 — on “lock down,” kicking off the first “drug sweep” in the school’s four-year history. [...]

While such “drug sweeps” have become a routine matter in many of the nation’s schools, along with the use of metal detectors and zero-tolerance policies, one feature of this raid was unusual. According to Casa Grande Police Department (CGPD) Public Information Officer Thomas Anderson, four “law enforcement agencies” took part in the operation: CGPD (which served as the lead agency and operation coordinator), the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Gila River Indian Community Police Department, and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

Corrections Corporation of America Used in Drug Sweeps of Public School Students

“To invite for-profit prison guards to conduct law enforcement actions in a high school is perhaps the most direct expression of the ‘schools-to-prison pipeline’ I’ve ever seen,” said Caroline Isaacs, program director of the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker social justice organization that advocates for criminal justice reform.

We start them out young with drug testing in order to be in chess club, we use law enforcement officers to pervert the job of health instruction (D.A.R.E), and now we ue for-profit prison guards to lock them down.

Yep. That’s a fine way to prepare our youth for their future lives.

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67 comments to Go Directly to Jail

  • cy Klebs

    The lockdown of school for warrentless searches is not new, what is striking is the use of private screws. The pretext is poisonous anecdotes like this link: http://ww.thirdage.com/video/index.php?adv=vvt_cmp&vid=90 They are claiming a link to merry waner and testicular cancer. Can anyone offer a rebuttal?

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    • ask to see the bodies

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    • If these claims were held to the same standards and scrutiny researchers are having to follow to prove any benefits, these claims would not hold up.

      What chemical in marijuana specifically causes this? Why does this result directly conflict with the anti cancer properties found from THC and CBD?

      Why is the incidence of lung cancer among marijuana smokers the same as a non smoker? Why don’t marijuana smokers experience higher rates of COPD?

      Why would a substance being shown to have direct anti cancer properties cause cancer?

      Someone is not doing their homework right, and I bet they collect their paycheck and authority from a Government agency or directly from the Government itself.

      Someone is yanking someones chain here, and my money is on the same old crowd who brought you the idea of assembly line justice and overcrowded prisons filled with non violent drug offenders.

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  • darkcycle

    Lets see, just who are these “third age” people? From their marketing materials: ” Who is ThirdAge?

    ThirdAge, a leading life-stage media, marketing and consumer insight company, is the premiere site on the Internet exclusively dedicated to serving Baby-Boomers”
    And from their advertisers page: “What Is ThirdAge?
    ThirdAge Inc. is a leading online lifestage media, marketing and consumer insight company…. Through strategic partnerships and integrated advertising campaigns, we help companies build lasting relationships with our audience.”
    They’re an advertising company masquerading as a Boomer lifestyle page. Somebody paid for that editorial video. I’m guessing from the smell of it, the alcoholic beverage companies. Gee, I wonder if they have anything on the established link between alcohol consumption and prostrate cancer?
    BTW, no public forum for rebuttal.

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  • this is another to share with those more on the right that still have doubts about what direction the WO(s)D is heading if we don’t finally slay the beast. I’m fond of the sentiment if they can seize our gardens they are but a step away from seizing your guns.

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  • darkcycle

    Only a little Horrific. I find it disturbing but not at all out of the ordinary for CCA to have sights set on the “School Safety Officer” niche. After all, it is a discreet but very large segment of the National law enforcement profile. And since the schools are already being targeted by the “privatizers”, why not school security? Maybe I’m jaded, but I’m surprised it took ‘em this long. They must be slow on the uptake.

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  • Has anyone ever attempted to figure a dollar amount to the total Federal and State and local drug confiscations? Including all properties and cash and bank accounts seized?

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  • Does CCA get a cut of that too?

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  • Servetus

    The school board would be required to pay CCA to sweep the school if they use them exclusively in the future, making the CCA rent-a-cops for the purpose of conducting drug searches. Were school administrators to use local law enforcement exclusively, it wouldn’t cost the school anything.

    So why would a school submit to such an unnecessary expenditure? I smell a kickback.

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    • darkcycle

      The school board is charged with the sourcing of school security. In most districts, the security of the school proper is hired by the school and paid out of the school’s budget. Not every police department has the extra officers to fully staff the security of the schools. Or to even provide more than one resource officer for the entire district. Some districts don’t even have that one dedicated resource officer. Yet the schools need the security. That’s just the type of “soft niche” that CCA is looking to take over. A position that doesn’t require a trained, sworn officer, but can filled by a High school dropout meat head and a can of pepper spray. This could have me worried, since I’m a father and I don’t want any CCA SWAT thug wannabe anywhere near my kid(s…that’s right. process is almost done, and my newest adopted son Tesfa is coming home around January.)

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  • nick

    I remember when I was in high school they did lock downs every few months and brought the cops and dogs in to smell our lockers and what not. Considering how many of us had weed on us they didn’t do a very good job. I didn’t think much of it back then due to being an ignorant teenager but that is really messed up them trying to bust kids for no real reason.

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    • Matthew Meyer

      We didn’t have this in my day, and one of the more disturbing aspects to me is what nick said, that he “didn’t think much of it back then.”

      What are we teaching kids that this kind of intrusion seems like not a big deal?

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  • Peter

    the next logical step for jan brewers corporate dictatorship would be to privatize the courts. the they could have cca judges working directly to fill cca jails. cuts out the need to bribe the middle man to keep up maximum occupancy

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    • claygooding

      See Drug Courts

      If you have the money(usually white blue collar)instead of being imprisoned you go to rehab and placed on probation.
      The problem is that poor white trash and hood residents do not have the money and continue filling the prison system so drug courts just insure they don’t stick rich kids in prison.

      Wouldn’t that be a monopoly,,you know,creating and harvesting and storage?

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  • Peter

    you couldnt make this stuff up. the town is called casa grande (big house) in pinal (penal) county. you get the feeling it was founded by the prison-industrial complex

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    • Matthew Meyer

      Nice one, but I’m thinking “pinal” is really “piñal” not “penal” and has more to do with evergreens than incarceration.

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      • darkcycle

        Yeah, I caught that….it seemed too good, I actually went and had to check the veracity of the story.
        That is some serious irony there, major, serious irony.

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        • Windy

          Pinal means deer in the Apache language, and since Pinal County is in the middle of Apache country, I suspect that county was named for that (similarly to areas in WA State which also have Amerind names, like Semiahmoo, Palouse, and Yakima). I looked it up after reading the thread.

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      • Peter

        maybe its english and they just cant spell?

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    • Rita

      Pinal is pronounced pi-NEL, and Casa Grande is named for a relatively well-preserved Indian ruin nearby of the same name. Named, obviously, by Spaniards, not the natives who lived there. Although, now I think about it, most of Arizona’s prisons ARE in that stretch between Phoenix and Tucson.

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  • Francis

    Schools today are basically prisons so why are we paying for both? It seems duplicative and wasteful. I say we combine the two into a single institution. (We could call them “schulags.”) Benefits of my proposal — Taxpayers win. (Lower taxes.) Prisoners win. (Rewarding opportunities to mentor the inmates of tomorrow.) And, most importantly, the children win. (My approach will help acclimate them to prison life early and make for a much smoother transition from student to prisoner.)

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  • steves

    Everytime I even see the mention of a “for-profit prison” I get sick to my stomach. In my opinion, there is almost no equal to this atrocity (and there are certainly some other terrible ones out there.) You can discuss how we are losing our freedoms to government control, but when you see a publicly traded company that can only make money by imprisoning our country’s citizens and actually puts in it’s annual report that if marijuana laws become more lax, their REVENUES could suffer…nuff said there. Just as a sidenote, don’t even get me on capacity, because they supposedly are stuffing people into their prisons – talk about crime.

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  • divadab

    A school on “lockdown” in order to conduct a search of students’ private possessions? What kind of citizen parent would consent to this abuse of the 4th amendment, the highest law of the land?

    This is the hallmark of fascism – disrespect for rule of law and replacement with rule of force. And the worst part is that these authoritarian retards are teaching our youth that this lawless behavior is a-ok.

    Very bad. I would yank my kids out of that Nazi-run school in a heartbeat. Why most parents don;t is beyond me. And Arizona is a charter school State – no wonder with fascist scum running the public schools.

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    • darkcycle

      Diva, this was ONE school. This does not happen in all schools, or most schools, or, for that matter ANY schools that we know of other than THIS ONE.
      It may in fact be the exclusive work of this school’s principal without the involvement of anybody else (I doubt that but for the sake of argument, I’ll put that out there). If you gotta call something or somebody fascist, it was likely this one guy. I bet the teachers were as horrified as we are, probably more so.
      I understand that the public schools do not meet the needs of some kids. And therefore some adults feel they were failed by the schools. Many of those adults were exceptionally bright as kids, and carry that sense of having been failed into adulthood. Unfortunately, because those kids by and large perform very well, they don’t get as much attention as the kids filling in the bottom portion of the normal curve. The result is that “gifted” kids needs DO NOT GET SERVED. That’s a problem that is endemic to public education, because kids who are “outliers” on the high end of the curve don’t pull the overall scores of the school down.
      My point is, the schools are constructed with the majority of average students in mind. For every one of us brainaics who didn’t get enough stimulation, opportunities we would have liked or attention from teachers, there are a hundred kids who can read and write and have a solid education.
      After my school experience, I entered psych graduate school intending to work with gifted kids. My dissertation was on gifted kids. But I didn’t ultimately get to do what I wanted. Know why? Because not only is the school system set up so the resources are concentrated at the bottom end and middle of the curve, the real NEED is at the bottom of the curve. Us brainiacs did just fine, thank you as it turns out. Educators are not fascists. They are the most dedicated professionals you will ever meet.

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      • divadab

        Hey, Darkcycle, cool your jets, I was only accusing the management of this school of being fascist. Don’t you agree?

        I went to a school that had corporal punishment – which I received on several occasions for very good reason, I now think! To me, corporal punishment is far more benign than un-American, Unconstitutional warrant-less searches of students’ private possessions. This is abuse, IMHO, abuse of the constitutional rights of these kids, abuse of authority by the people entrusted to educate them, and abuse of common sense. I would go further – it’s a crime, and its perpetrators have shown themselves unworthy of holding positions of trust and authority over kids.

        If they caned a kid they would be charged. But this far worse crime is not even accused, let alone punished.

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      • Rita

        Sorry to break the news to you, Darkcycle, but middle schools and high schools in Yavapai County, at least, have been having “lockdown drills,” complete with police and drug dogs, although minus the private prison employees, for years. In fact, a couple days ago the students at Chino Valley High School were locked down because some concerned citizen supposedly told the police he saw a man carrying a gun onto the campus. Who was never found, probably because he didn’t exist.

        I seriously don’t think it’s an Arizona exclusive. It certainly isn’t exclusive to Casa Grande. I agree with Diva, though — they would lock my child down one time, and my child would be home-schooled from that day forward.

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    • Servetus

      It seems the slave states just can’t get out of the habit. Here’s how the Mississippi School-to-Prison Pipeline operates its schoolag:

      Wearing the wrong color socks, talking back and being late landed young Cedrico Green in jail. The Justice Department says there are many more students like him.

      .

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      • darkcycle

        The fact that these are newsworthy at all is an indicator they are exceptions, not the rule. Educators are not the devil sent to enslave you.
        I was a teacher for period of time (in fact I ran an entire school program, so I guess that makes me a “fascist”), my wife is a teacher, many of our friends are teachers from College right on down to K-12. I hear the current popular diatribe against public education (incidentally that current diatribe is driven by the backers of privatized education, folks like Kaplan who stand to make a fortune from the dismantling of public education. Bill Gates is driven by visions of “Microsoft” online High School and “microsoft university) and it actually pains me. The picture being painted by the opponents of public education is gawdawful, and bears so little resemblance to reality that it beggars the ability to set the record straight.
        I had a gawdaful time in High School, I dropped out of TWO schools before finally getting my GED. It took returning to school and actually LEARNING the job and about the people who pursue it to change my mind. Now I will defend public education to the end. I won’t say it’s perfect, but it is simply too critical to a democratic society to be dismantled.
        Matt Damon said it in a confrontation with Reason T.V. very well, so I’ll leave this there, since it is actually O/T.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WIv7Xk8BjA

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        • divadab

          darkcycle – see my comment above. You read more into my comment than I wrote. Why would I, an over-educated bookworm, think all educators are fascists? Give your head a shake, brother, because obviously I triggered something to generate your response!

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        • darkcycle

          It’s cool… I just got off an extended argument on education reform on another thread, it ran for days. I’m still hot about that, I suppose. It’s all good.

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        • darkcycle

          Just found this….so you know who’s behind the school privatization drive…here’s just one company. And note how they spend YOUR TAX DOLLARS:
          “An analysis by USA TODAY finds that online charter schools have spent millions in taxpayer dollars on advertising over the past five years, a trend that shows few signs of abating. The primary and high schools — operated online by for-profit companies but with local taxpayer support — are buying TV, radio, newspaper and Internet ads to attract students, even as brick-and-mortar public schools in the districts they serve face budget crunches.” http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/11/28/online-schools-ads-public-/1732193/

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  • ezrydn

    I’m sure glad all my schooling occurred BEFORE this madness swept the land. I never experienced anything like this. The closest I came to any trouble was when Kennedy came to town. His motorcade passed our HS and I was in front, commanding our ROTC Fancy Drill Team and we did a quick “Present” to him. Ron, my #2 and Guidon Bearer was short and when we did the Queen Ann Salute, he bounced the tip of the giudon off Kennedy’s rear quarter panel. LOL Had to face Secret Service questioning over that one. They didn’t seem concerned that the other 12 members had M-1s with chrome bayonets, plus my sabre. We even had a 22-cal firing range in the armory, ON CAMPUS! This was Hoover HS in San Diego, circa ’60-’63. The drug scene hadn’t shown itself yet.

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  • claygooding

    We had 2 rich kids get caught with marywanna when I was in the 11th grade,,never saw any until Nam,,,and that was a good place to find out why people smoke marywanna while using good stuff to learn on, The atmosphere was a bummer sometimes but the scenery was mostly Mat Geo pics.

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  • Tony Aroma

    A good lesson for struggling businesses from an industry that is thriving in this tough economic climate: You need to actively seek new customers, by force if necessary. Of course not too many other industries have the police working for them as “recruiters.”

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  • Jose

    I believe this is a push for revenue generation, we can’t forget CCA is a businesss… ever! I stumbled upon this on thestreet.com the entire article requires paid subscription for investors and the info was listed under “Options Profits” which just feels slimy and sinister to me.
    snip////
    For companies like Corrections Corporation of America (CXW) and GEO Group (GEO), the downside risk to marijuana legalization could be substantial. Recent reports from the analyst community make general mentions of policy changes as an ongoing risk factor, but make no specific mention of changes to drug laws. SunTrust cited the risk of “change[s] in state or federal policies and funding that reduce inmate populations,” and a post-election report from Macquarie included similar language. Otherwise, analysts are very positive on the stock, and are focused mostly on the company’s short-term plans to convert to a real estate investment trust. During the Q3 earnings call on November 8, an analyst asked about a referendum in California to reclassify some “three strikes” inmates, but no other policy changes were mentioned.
    //end snip

    Yes, they are scared and already starting to adjust not even a month out from our victory!

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    • Peter

      kind of gives the lie to kevin sabet et al who maintain that “no one goes to jail for mj anymore”

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    • claygooding

      It is also a tactic to prepare stockholders for more funding to lobbyist,,I wonder how much cash is floating around DC today seeking diehard prohibs to lock down any legislation removing cannabis from schedule 1,,it is the nail holding the entire wall up.

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  • claygooding

    Has anyone else noticed the explosion of hemp/marijuana articles about production at NPR,,everything from growing it methods to MMJ stocks going up?

    I wonder how many grow books are being sold a day?

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  • Are we trying to wipe out drugs? Impossible.

    I have seen more drug testing being pushed into schools all over the country this year than I have ever seen in my life. Country wide efforts to drug test welfare, unemployment. All being pushed by Congressional funding to the States. Now we are running our schools like prisons.

    I would posit that our focus is all wrong on every bit of all this. What about concentrating on teaching and emulating responsibility and responsible behavior?

    No one will wipe out drugs in schools or anyplace else for that matter by turning this country into a law and order police State. Are we emulating the very philosophy that millions died fighting in WWII?

    We beat em. We don’t have to become them.

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  • ezrydn

    It would seem, at this early period, that WA & CO wrote a proper piece of solid legislation. Now, hand it out to the remaining 48, or at least, 24 (that’s half + 1). I wanna see the CSA gone and I’m running outta time!

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  • I would be remiss if I didn’t remind folks about the 2003 Goose Creek HS Raid in SC… and really, it matters not whether the incidents are rare or commonplace. That they exist at all is another one of those symptoms of a diseased organism…

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  • Peter

    the uk government is proposing minimum pricing for alchol to try to stem thehigh levels of drunkeness in british city centers on friday and saturday nights, and the fights and other misbehavior that results. a far more practical solution would be to allow a choice between dutch style coffee shops and pubs. i would bet that would lead to a greater reduction in alcohol consumption than the 4% goal of the government price control but of course that isnt on the table

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  • oh my… talk about a need for a visit from the couch…

    Steven Crowder and Bad Arguments for Pot Decriminalization

    comments are open and there is only one so far

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    • Francis

      Yeah, but in a way, videos like that are actually somewhat encouraging. Notice that Steven Crowder, “FoxNews’ brightest, funniest young Conservative mind,” can’t actually bring himself to defend cannabis prohibition. (He’s just making fun of the “bad arguments.”) And in fact, he concedes that there are compelling arguments for legalization. But it’s very important to him that “the left” not be right on this issue (or at least that they only be right for the wrong reasons). Crowder can see which way the wind is blowing. He’s not really trying to “win” (i.e., keep marijuana prohibition in place). He’s just trying to deny “the other side” a victory or at least to taint that victory. Frankly, I don’t really give a damn about that type of Red Team vs. Blue Team nonsense. I just want our freedom back.

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      • I doubt many here are into the red and blue rah-rah, Francis. But as a “conservative” Crowder ought know that actual conservative folks (like Wm F Buckley) have opposed prohibition for a looong time for very specific and intelligent reasons. Because of my stone-age dial-up interwwweb connection I don’t get to watch many vids. I gathered tho’ that he had interviewed young people that repeated the non-factual themes they’ve picked up from their miseducated peers. Had Crowder interviewed educated adults favoring legalization (like just about any one sitting here on the couch) his mockery would have been much harder.

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        • Francis

          “I doubt many here are into the red and blue rah-rah, Francis.”

          Oh, I know. And sorry if my comment suggested otherwise. But it’s a source of neverending frustration for me.

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      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        In honor of Mr. Crowder and the Catholic Church deciding to weigh in on this (phony) controversy here’s a number from “Joe’s Garage” by Frank Zappa called Catholic Girls

        It’s apparent to me that Mr. Zappa grew up Catholic.

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  • and a search of GoogleNews gives us these headlines…

    Parkway District gives OK to canine drug searches

    Costa Rica: Security Ministry tries to keep drugs out of schools

    Hingham High School locked down for search; no drugs found

    Seneca Valley, Police, Conduct Routine Drug Search at …

    No drugs found in Wiscasset High School during K-9 sweep

    Delaware Valley schools on lockdown; drug sniffing dogs scour the …

    Spartan Torch: Drug Sweep

    Drug-Sniffing Dogs Search GV Middle and High Schools

    Principals oppose moves to restrict sniffer dogs

    Random drug and weapons search held at East Coweta

    Drugs detected — but none found — at Linton schools last week

    Drug dogs find pot at Celina High School

    Simsbury High Drug Sweeps to Continue, Student Drug Use Down

    … and that’s just the first 2 pages of returns (using the words school drug search) from 804,000 results (with a 30 day search).

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    • darkcycle

      Funny, since there are only 98,000 schools in the entire United States. http://www.infoplease.com/askeds/number-us-public-schools.html I don’t think that number represents what you think it does. It reflects the level of outrage, not the number of searches…

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      • I do realize that not all 804,000 articles are different. My point was (which I thought I represented well w/ the varied headlines all about school drug searches, all in diff locations, in just the first 2 pages).

        The problem is neither new nor rare, was basically my point.

        And fwiw I’m a public school grad and both my kids went thru the public school mill…

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      • darkcycle

        And wasn’t the question about the USE OF PRIVATE PRISON CONTRACTORS to conduct the search? That was the context in which I suggested it might be just this one school.
        And two pages out of 98,000 schools? While I don’t think I called this rare, it does still seem to be outside the norm, Allan.
        When exactly did school teachers sign this pact with Satan, anyway? I must have missed the part where the dedicated educators with whom I spent a good portion of my working life became soul sucking demons. But, it seems I miss a lot these days.

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        • I have yet to see anyone saying anything bad about the teachers. I certainly won’t, I just spent a long weekend with one. Unhackle mate… relax the shoulders, take a breath… as always I thought we were talking about the drug war creeping into every facet of our lives, including our children’s schools.

          And that was just the first 2 pages out of 804,000 returns (42,000 pages), for a 30 day period.

          I’d call it insidious and far too prevalent. Another point about those headlines… most of ‘em (I scanned thru more than 2 pages) found no drugs.

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  • and more on Casa Grande’s search:


    End the Pretense that Government Schools and Prisons Are Different

    Students Inmates were confined to their classrooms, then led in small groups to another room where they were forced to line up against a wall and be searched with the help of drug-sniffing dogs.

    lined up against a wall… my WWII vet dad wouldn’t believe it possible

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  • Windy

    divadab and darkcycle may have already seen this, since I posted it on my FB wall, too; some parents and students ARE fighting back against some tyrannical moves by school admin:
    http://blog.independent.org/2012/11/28/setback-for-the-surveillance-state-in-san-antonio-schools/

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    • An excellent article Windy, thanks! It fits the theme to a T.

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    • On the theory that you will get more of whatever you put your attention on, we should be well on our way to creating this:

      -Schools run by prison tactics where behavior and school security takes precedence over teaching

      -The “hunters” and “hunted” roles that are being played out create just that. The guilty hide and the innocent are treated as guilty. All, including the teachers are delayed and stopped from fulfilling the primary roles as teachers and students. Teachers and students are in a forced role as victims. The winning “side” of Swat and force becomes taught and emulated or fought against and resented. The future gets more of the same. Authority gets a very bad name.

      -Actual users of the drugs hide. Teachers and students become victims of force. Trust and co-operation take a back seat to mistrust and resentment. Fear and resentment become the new norm.

      -Co-operation becomes resistance, trust becomes fear.

      -Willing students become victims of what is now forced indoctrination

      Using drug testing at all the entry points where food is distributed and where money and jobs are present and where education occurs changes the nature and complexion of the entire society. Mistrust and force replace trust and co-operation.

      The difference between a prison and a school should be obvious.

      Trust and co-operation and a desire and willingness to learn are all we have. When that is gone America will never be the same.

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  • Duncan20903

    2010′s Prop 19 wasn’t a total waste of time:


    Drop In San Diego Arrests Linked To New Marijuana Law

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012
    By Tom Fudge

    SAN DIEGO — The number of arrests in San Diego County in 2011 was down dramatically compared to the previous year. A report from SANDAG, San Diego’s regional planning agency, showed an 11 percent drop in arrests among adults and an 18 percent drop among juveniles.

    But those numbers pale in comparison to the 90 percent overall decrease in marijuana-related arrests.
    /snip/

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