Were They Wearing Brown Shirts?

This happened about an hour away from me:

Police in the western Michigan community of Wyoming entered two classrooms at Lee Middle and High School on Thursday and announced there was a threat to the school, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

Students, who were unaware police were conducting a drill, were taken from the classroom into the halls, patted down by officers and asked what they had in their pockets, the newspaper said.

"Some of these kids were so scared, they just about wet their pants," said Marge Bradshaw, a parent with four children in Godfrey-Lee Schools. "I think it's pure wrong that the students and parents were not informed of this."

A drill for what, exactly? Under what imaginable scenario would the police have to burst into a school unannounced, line up all the students against the wall with guns on them and frisk them? None that I can think of. I can't imagine any operational justification for this drill. I suspect it's more about spreading fear in the school, letting the students know that big brother is watching and he could do this to you for real.

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For every drill we run here (except for fire drills), we let students know far in advance that there will be a drill and that it is only a drill. I can't imagine doing otherwise.

Fix "policy" to "police".

By Michael Suttkus, II (not verified) on 30 Oct 2006 #permalink

Since there was no individual reasonable suspicion, even if they found anything on the kids, it would never be admissible. So what was the point again?


You don't have to worry. This was just a practice. The real exercise will take place next Tuesday.

By Jim Ramsey (not verified) on 30 Oct 2006 #permalink

We had an incident in a school here in SC. This was a drawn-guns, frisk everyone, open everything raid ostentially to find drugs. The administration wasn't even told about it beforehand. The resulting law suites really knocked a whole in the town's budget and cost the chief of police to lose his job. Perhaps that will happen in Michigan. We can only hope...

By jbCharleston (not verified) on 30 Oct 2006 #permalink

It turns out that it was the principal that decided not to tell anyone about the exercise in advance. "'I think this is the best way to do it,' Britten said. 'We're not looking to scare anyone, but we want a sense of urgency.'" The police chief was unaware that the students and parents weren't told. How can a school principal be that clueless? If I were a parent in that district I'd demand that he be fired.

I can't imagine any justification for such a "drill". What's the point? And really, the police don't have any better use for their time? Someone needs to take a look at their budget and staffing level.

Would you people relax. It's a simple exercise of the new Military Commissions Act. Arresting hundreds of civilians, err..., enemy combatants requires lots of logistical coordination at the local, state, and federal level. Plus, it gives the kids a chance to learn about our new police state. See, it's educational!

After reading Merle's blog, I have decided that I think he is satire.

Therefore, just ignore my last comment.

9/11 wouldnt have happened if bush was president before 2000 when clinton was asleep.

and i dont get you people thinking i must be a joke to you just because you cant agree with me then im either a idiot or im joking. this is why you liberals keep losing elections! wait and see who wins this time. your media keeps saying the republicans will lose but thats because they want us to think that. normal people like me will keep them in power.

When I was in Middle school someone sent out a threatening e-mail. For a week after the police were watching the campus but that's all, they were watching. The teachers--people we students had learned to trust--were checking backpacks. Everyone's. People try to train their kids to trust police, but it doesn't always work. Some kids form the opposite impression and consider cops people to be feared and respected rather than trusted. It doesn't matter if they're wearing uniforms or badges. A bunch of big men with weapons storming in out of nowhere is scary. Even more so when they give orders and sieze authority.

By Flying Fox (not verified) on 30 Oct 2006 #permalink

One more response for Merle and I will stop since I do not want to spam up Ed's comment section.

Merle, if you are satire, I applaud your commitment. If you are being serious with your beliefs, I apologize for assuming that you were above the ideas you had posted.

All in all, I am quite amused by the fact that you ask why I assume you are an idiot because I don't agree with you, and turn around and call me an idiot for not agreeing with you.

See you at the polls next week.

I'm amused that he complains about being called an idiot while simultaneously proving himself to be an idiot.

I think Merle's points may actually be satire. On his blog he actually complains that liberals allow balcks and whites to marry. There also appears to be an almost deliberate attempt at poor grammar and spelling.

I don't think I can bring myself to believe that any of this could be serious. The material gives itself away with the immediate logical fallacies and repugnant racist and prejudiced views. At least I hope it does.

I'll bet those kids learnt more in school that day than they usually do in a month.

If Merle is satire, it's not particularly good satire. Good satire doesn't leave the reader guessing whether it's satire or not.

"Without the use of a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to make a parody of Fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing." - Poe's Law

- JS

Since there was no individual reasonable suspicion, even if they found anything on the kids, it would never be admissible. So what was the point again?

I may be wrong, but I think that while the criminal justice system may work that way, a school's disciplinary system is held to no such standards. Somebody jump in if I'm forgetting something important.

By Troublesome Frog (not verified) on 31 Oct 2006 #permalink


cops need reasonable suspicion to search school kids; for adults, they generally need probable cause.

given that 1) this was clearly a seizure, and 2) all parties admit there was no suspicion of criminal activity, i certainly hope every parent involved is going to sue the cops and the school for the fourth amendment violation.

Seems to me this is a good way to teach the young to be docile in the face of authority when they grow up. I mean, if you are going to living in a police state, what better training could you have?