Society

Police Search 900 Students At High School, Find Nothing

| by Michael Allen

The Worth County Sheriff's Office in Sylvester, Georgia, searched 900 students at a local high school on April 21, but found nothing (video below).

Deputies reportedly searched girls' bras and the insides of their thighs, and improperly searched the boys as well, WFXL reports.

Interim Worth County Superintendent Lawrence Walters told WALB, "I've never been involved with anything like that ever in the past 21 years and I don't condone it."

But Walters had prior knowledge of the search from Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby.

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"We did not give permission, but they didn't ask for permission," Walters insisted.

Under the Fourth Amendment, police must have a warrant from a court or probable cause to do a search; neither was indicated in news reports of the mass search.

"Under no circumstances did we approve touching any students," Walters insisted.

Students told their parents that the school was searched for drugs, and that they were patted down by the deputies; Walters said the same thing.

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“I was shocked that the Worth County Sheriff’s Department brought all the deputies down there and locked the school down,” David Newsome, a father of one the students, told WFXL.

"I asked him what was going on, and what happened," Newsome added. "He told me that my child wasn’t singled out."

However, being singled out, or not being singled out, is not the issue, but rather the mass search itself.

"My son was put up against the wall," Newsome recalled. "Feet back, legs spread. And his personal belongings was searched, along with his pockets and the inside of his leg up onto his groin."

Tommy Coleman, the lawyer for the Worth County School Board, said the police need probable cause to do a search.

"Which means you have to have some reason to believe that some kind of criminal activity, or you’re in possession of some contraband, drugs or weapon," Coleman said. "No drugs were found. The only thing that was found was a vial of prescription drugs, for which the child had a prescription written for it."

"I sent my child to learn at school, not to be accused of a crime that he has not committed," Newsome added. "My son’s fourth and possibly 14th amendment rights has been violated by what happened at his school..."

The Sylvester Police Department searched the school on March 17, but came up empty. Hobby didn't think that search was good enough, and chose to search the whole school, with K-9 units, about a month later.

Hobby told WLAB there are drugs at the high school and the middle school, but did not offer any evidence of his assertion.

Hobby said several juveniles were taken into custody on March 11, and investigators discovered evidence of drug activities at the school.

Sources: WALB, WFXL / Photo Credit: Harland Quarrington/Wikimedia Commons

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