First we were told that gang activity is exploding in all Cobb schools. Drugs are being sold and consumed not only on campuses but even in hallways. Innocent students are being shaken down, threatened and even assaulted by student (?) thugs. Unfortunately there is virtually nothing that either school administrators or law enforcement can do about it. They cannot act just on complaints or anonymous reports. After all, these gang members have their civil rights.
Then we read that a senior student at Allatoona High School, hoping to attend college next year, potentially has his life ruined by an overly officious school official responding to a campus officer, who in turn was responding to an “anonymous tip” from someone smelling marijuana smoke from the student’s auto.
With no search warrant and no valid legal reason to search the car, the vice-principal does so anyway and finds no marijuana, but does see an EMT rescue knife in the car’s console. That is the same piece of safety equipment that auto associations now recommend that every car possess to free seatbelt-wearing passengers from overturned or fire-stricken autos in life-threatening accidents.
Making matters worse is that this particular student was in fact in just such an accident in February, where he struggled to free himself and then three friends, all of whom watched as emergency personnel used (what else?) an EMT rescue knife to free the fifth passenger.
Apparently our august legislators did not understand the difference between butcher knives and EMT rescue knives when they drew up their confused laws. Local law enforcement is blatantly incapable of controlling serious felony activity in schools, but is only too willing to go for an easy arrest of a student with no history of any transgressions. School administrators are obviously much more concerned about the civil rights of gang members than those of innocent students.
If indeed Allatoona expels this student and the legal system makes him a victim, not only will justice not be served, but real criminals will just continue to infest our schools, thanks to the incompetent combination of lawmakers, law enforcers and clueless administrators.
In a truly logical and sane world, this student’s dad would sue all of these organizations and officials for real civil rights violations and for making this kid’s life miserable. And I would like to be on that jury that decided what he would get: lots.
This whole set of events over the past two weeks makes me feel like I’m living in Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone.”
William Lewis is a retired senior VP of a locally based $1-billion manufacturing company. He also was a high school teacher/varsity basketball coach in Baltimore early in his career. He is a 23-year resident of east Cobb.