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Drug-Test Lockdowns in Public High Schools

Written by Gary North on June 20, 2012

The public schools are drug emporiums. Nowhere else in America are this many potential customers brought together at taxpayer expense. It’s compulsory. Students are told to attend unless their parents have made other arrangements. I discussed this in my 2001 article, “Winning the War on Drugs.”

“But our schools are different,” parents say. “My kids are safe.”

Safe from whom? Not the administration.

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked a federal appeals court to reject arguments by a Missouri high school defending as legitimate its practice of carrying out random lockdowns and mass searches of the student body. In a reply brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Burlison v. Springfield Public Schools, Institute attorneys reject claims by Springfield (Mo.) public school officials and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office that officials did not violate the Fourth Amendment rights of students when they imposed a “lockdown” of the school for the purpose of allowing the local sheriff’s department, aided by drug-sniffing dogs, to perform mass inspections of students’ belongings.

The Rutherford Institute’s complaint and subsequent reply brief in Burlison v. Springfield Public Schools are available here and here.

“Random, suspicionless lockdown raids against children teach our children a horrific lesson—one that goes against every fundamental principle this country was founded upon—that we have no rights at all against the police state,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Americans should be outraged over the fact that school officials are not only defending such clearly unconstitutional practices but are actually going so far as to insist that these raids are a ‘standard drill’ that will continue.”

On April 22, 2010, the principal of Central High School announced over the public address system that the school was going into “lockdown” and that students were prohibited from leaving their classrooms.  School officials and agents of the Greene County Sheriff’s Department thereafter ordered students to leave all personal belongings behind and exit the classrooms. Dogs were also brought in to assist in the raid. Upon re-entering the classrooms, students allegedly discovered that their belongings had been rummaged through. Mellony and Doug Burlison, who had two children attending Central High School, complained to school officials that the lockdown and search were a violation of their children’s rights. School officials allegedly responded by insisting that the search was a “standard drill” and policy of the school district which would continue.

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute sued the school district in September 2010 on behalf of the Burlisons and their two children, asking the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to declare that the practice of effecting a lockdown of the school and conducting random, suspicionless seizures and searches violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the similar provision of the Missouri Constitution. In its January 2012 decision, the district court declared that the random lockdown and mass searches did not violate students’ rights. Institute attorneys subsequently appealed the case to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in April 2012. Affiliate attorney Jason T. Umbarger of Springfield, Mo., is assisting The Rutherford Institute in its defense of the Burlison family.

Continue Reading on www.rutherford.org

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14 thoughts on “Drug-Test Lockdowns in Public High Schools

  1. goldendragon2012 says:

    Let me take a wild guess here. "Profound effect on law enforcement" will require "additional tools" which means… more money? Dunno. Just shooting in the dark here.

  2. The random searches reminded me of another of Dr. North's excellent articles, "The Story of Two Buses": http://lewrockwell.com/north/north278.html

  3. J.D. Schmidt says:

    Just another example of the lawlessness that
    has engulfed our country. Even the cops don’t follow our laws any more! Why and how did we get to this place?

  4. It is almost hard to feel sorry for people that show so such disdain for there own children by sending them to government schools. Will Americans ever take ant responsibility for their own children? Once a child has a SS# they are owned by the state and the state can do whatever they want to them. Wake up people.

  5. "It is almost hard to feel sorry for people that show so such disdain for there own children by sending them to government schools."
    It is impossible for me to feel sorry for people who have scoffed at my warnings for over 30 years. These people lost their souls en masse in 1963 when they pretended the outlawing of prayer and Bible reading in the government schools didn't amount to anything important. Can you understand that their geese were cooked at that very moment?

  6. That 1st Amendment needs amending right?

  7. DoctorBob says:

    Having raised a son who got into drugs in Grade School, and was a wasted pothead all through Junior High and High School, then went on to over a decade of wasted life on drugs, I have mixed emotions about this. The students were not molested, strip-searched, or inconvenienced in any way. They were where they were SUPPOSED to be at that moment: in their classrooms, so it's not as if they were being detained in a holding cell. Their backpacks, briefcases, or whatever possessions that were searched do NOT enjoy ANY Constitutional rights, including the 4th Amendment! They are inanimate objects! The students merely had drug-sniffing dogs pass by them, so no one was touched or molested. Frankly, I have to side with the school on this one. I'm sick and tired of watching kids have their lives destroyed by drugs. Whatever their parents are doing isn't working! We are raising a generation of drug-impaired Sean Penn's, and we can't do that any longer as a country and survive. So, I do hope ALL schools move in the drug-sniffing puppies, and start ferreting out the drug dealers! I don't have a problem with that at all. In by book, the drug dealers have NO rights whatsoever! None at all.

  8. AD Roberts says:

    School kids. In public schools where the biggest bullies run the show. I my kids were in school, I would have no problem with the drug search. That way, the other kids who ARE using and distributing drugs would be removed or think twice about carrying in school. But then, my kids were raised to be straight and true.

    The only time I would have a problem is when corrupt cops plant stuff on kids who were known to be conservative just to get rid of them.

    On second thought, we should stop the unwarranted searches.

    Isn't it a bummer when you are more concerned about the honest of the cops than you are about the drug distrubutors.

  9. AD Roberts says:

    THIRD SENTENCE. If my kids were in school…………

  10. AD Roberts says:

    Huh? What are you saying? That having prayer and Bible reading in school was a violation of the Constitution? NOT. We were a Christian nation from the start. But starting with Horace Mann and Dewey we have had leftists working to remove Christianity not only from the public place but from the entire society. Thank goodness, God is still in charge.

  11. AD Roberts says:

    I Chronicles: IF My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and turn from their wicked ways….. I will hear from heaven and heal the land.

    It happened when we stopped serving God in the churches and made it into a social club. And it will continue until we turn, humbly to God, and repent. That is NOT the secular people and sinners we are talking about. That is the people who call themselves Christians but truly are inhabitants of Laodicea. (Bet you don't even know where that is mentioned)

  12. AD Roberts says:


    No bullies, except the parent. No indoctrination by homosexuals. No sexual harrassment. Reduced cost. Greater self exteem by the kids. Greater control of what is being taught.

    And the materials available will allow you to effective teach subjects you know nothing about. (Saxon Math is so good that you can teach algebra, trigonometry, or even calculus without knowing any of it. REALLY)

  13. AD Roberts says:

    We did homeschool our kids. And had people complain about the lack of socialization. But the opposite is true. In schools, the vast majority of people your kids are exposed to are the same age. And the biggest bullies rule. If you work at citizenship and service, you will meet elderly in nursing homes and hospitals. And younger kids to mentor in church and the Boy Scouts. (Don't even consider the Girl Scouts unless you have verified the lesbians have not infiltrated the pack)

  14. Here is the reason why this is all possible. But few will read it. Fewer will take the time to understand it. Most will dismiss it as "conspiracy theory", bunk, or BS. The majority who dismiss it, do so because they don't want to know. They just want to complain.
    If you're one of the few, then read and study this paper: http://noconstitutionforyou.blogspot.com/