Williamsburg School Board hears compl...

Williamsburg School Board hears complaints about drug search of students

There are 16 comments on the South Carolina Now story from Apr 23, 2007, titled Williamsburg School Board hears complaints about drug search of students. In it, South Carolina Now reports that:

“The bus driver, because of what was happening on the bus, did what she felt was in the best interest of the safety of all the children on that bus”

Community members filled the Williamsburg County School District board/staff development meeting room during a regular meeting Monday to voice their concerns about several items including an incident where a ... via South Carolina Now

Join the discussion below, or Read more at South Carolina Now.

Jeff

Washington, DC

#1 Apr 24, 2007
These Kids rights were violated by the School District, and the Kingstree Police Department. The bus driver took them to the jail because she thought she smelled cigarette smoke or marijuana. The smell of either is not a threat to anyone's life or safety!

The Police department also violated the kids rights by illegally searching them. They did not have a female officer on site when the search occurred. When approached, Police Department stated that they did not have proper staffing available during that time therefore allowed male officers to search and "frisk" the female students and their personal belongings!

When the bus arrived at the Detention Center, the Sherrif Department declined to search the bus because they did not have set written procedures with the school district to carry out such an act. At this point, the City of Kingstree Police Department (Who also do not have set written procedures for this) was contacted and they carry out the illegal search.
Vanessa

Marion, SC

#2 Apr 25, 2007
The Kingstree police Departmant as well as the school board needs to be held accountable for there inapropriate actions. These kids were under age neither did they have a parent present at the time of this unfournatate inncident. I commend all the parents who are taking a stand to make sure that all involved will be held accountable for the violation of these kids. I hope that the school district, the bus driver, as well as the police department gets just what they deserve to the fullest extent their is. Granted it will not fix the termoil or the emontional detress that these kids has faced.
Dee

Columbia, SC

#3 Apr 26, 2007
First and foremost, I believe that the driver of the school bus should be held responsible for the poor decision made to take the students to the police department. What if the bus had been in an accident while on this alternative route? What then? In our school district, when a situation arises on a school bus, the driver is to take the students back to the school and notify school officials and parents. At what point were the parents notified?

If the Kingstree Police Department was within the law to search the students, then proper personnel should have been present. Why were there not female officers, school administrators and parents present during the search?

It appears that the students’ rights were definitely violated. I sympathize with the parents and students involved as I can only imagine the fear, confusion and humiliation experienced by all. The school board should not let this matter conclude without holding several individuals responsible. We must be held responsible for our actions, especially when dealing with children.
Johnnie

United States

#4 Apr 26, 2007
I agree with Dee, several should be held responsible at the School District and the Police Department. Get an attorney involved if necessary.

This is terrible as kids are to be taken to and from school by school buses to be educated, not to be treated like criminals!!

I hope all is doing well from this occasion. Make someone pay so it won't happen again!
jessica

Sumter, SC

#5 Apr 27, 2007
I see that no one is conerned with the knife found on the bus. Would the parents and everyone be in such an uproar if someone had been stabbed? I look at it from both sides, especially, since I went to school here. If one of the students had went home and said the bus driver done nothing about the smoking on the bus would that make everything better? I just don't see how this bus driver and the police department are totally in the wrong. what about the kids who brought these items on the bus and the parents who are more concerned with a legal search than what their kids are doing?
Carolyn

United States

#6 Apr 28, 2007
Jessica, since you look at this situation from both sides, let us hear your views on which you failed to elaborate about the 30+ innocent children being searched like common criminals without any parental knowledge, or any notification to the school officials.

According to the article, the decision to carry these children to the Detention Center was made solely by the bus driver who stated she smelled marijuana on the bus. At this time there was NO knowledge of the presence of a knife. The smell of marijuana alone does not constitute a life threatening situation, therefore, in the opinions of most, decisions and actions of this magnitude were not warranted. With the access of communication devices on buses, why wasn’t the principal or bus supervisor notified of the driver’s concerns before hauling these children off to “jail?”

I most certainly do not condone the use or possession of drugs or weapons in our schools and believe that anyone in violation should be prosecuted. I stand firm on this; however, a student’s rights should not be violated by taking them to jail and searching them solely because they may be in the proximity (bus, class room, school) of a violator?

Can you honestly say that you would not have been in an “uproar” had your child been on that bus??

Thankfully, those children were not stabbed physically, but they were stabbed psychologically. Do you think they will soon forget this?
Bennie G-town SC

United States

#7 Apr 28, 2007
I can only wish it was my child because I wouldn't start counting until I was well into the millions and as far as the bus driver she has rules that she was suppose to follow and I seem to have missed the part about her making that judgement call over smelling something. Was she trained to sniff out weed?
Lonnie_Gus

Lake Mary, FL

#8 Apr 29, 2007
Tos take thes kids to the police dept. was an inapropriate action. The School Board should be held accountable for the bus driver's actions and the City of Kingstree should do something about the police dept's actions. If the police dept is able to get away with this then what will they be able to do to the other citizens in this county. They were in violation of these children's rights. These children were under age (juviniles) and they were searched without their parent's notification or presence. This action of the bus driver(School Board) and the police dept. WARRENT A LAWSUIT!!!!
Jeff

Washington, DC

#9 Apr 30, 2007
Carolyn, Thanks for getting Jessica straight!!

Jessica, the bus driver was supposed to take the bus back to the school. This is the School District Policy and SC Code of Law policy. Nobody, not even the law, have the right to act against the laws/rules. Also Jessica, the bus was closer to the school than the jail. It would have been easier and safer for the kids if the driver would have sought help at the closest/quickest destination (the school) which would have also been the proper place to take the kids!!

The School District and Police Department is wrong. Punishment should be distributed to both!!
Josh

Kingstree, SC

#10 May 5, 2007
Sue the school district and the police dept. They were wrong!!!!!
Jeff

Washington, DC

#11 May 22, 2007
SC Department of Education (Jim Rex), Governor's Office (Mark Sanford) and SLED has been contacted.
Concern

Sumter, SC

#12 Sep 5, 2008
I feel that Williamsburg County is a sorry county when it comes to anything dealing with children, instead of trying to figure out if it is drugs or anything else they should be figuring out a program that the children can do after school.
Ashley

Florence, SC

#13 Nov 17, 2008
I was a citizen from Williamsburg County. I have seen nothing but negative from this county from my 18 years of living there. Most of the school board and government officials are just a bunch of fake people who think they are seeking better for the community. Most of them ride around in their fancy cars and look down on the very citizens they are suppose to be representing.

As far as the bus issue, I once rode the public transportation of Williamsburg county. There were several occasions when a police officers would just walk on the bus and say "leave all your belongings and get off the bus because we're about to do a search cause we know that there is drug activity". I will never allow my child to attend any school in this county because of the incident. I was a honor student while I attended school and because of the incident I felt violated and that I was being classified as any other drug addict in Kingstree.
tonya

Kent, WA

#14 Dec 6, 2008
I have to say the bus driver and police dept was defin wrong in this situation. I have relatives that attend some of the schools in Willaimsburg Co and I too agree that the school district is in poor condition. What I mean by this is that "most" of the so-called educators are not qualified and should be given standarized test by officials outside of the county.

The children on that bus were violated. I agree with the another poster who indicated that Willaimsburg Co does a poor job when it comes to youth. I left Williamsburg Co several years ago because there is very little oppurtunities unless you know someone. In addition, the educational system is very political. In Williamsburg Co; it is about who you know and not what you know.

I will say that I have a lot of respect for these four educators as they defin made a difference in my life: Mr. James Darby, Mr. Norman Gamble, Mrs. Mahalia Dukes and Mr. Danny Bryant. Through out my entire educational experience in Williamsburg Co; these are the educators that truly cared about how I turned out as a student.

When I was in 3rd grade; my teacher (Mrs. Pierce) ridiculed me constantly. One day, she literally pushed me and I fell on the floor and slid under a table in the classroom; all because I did not know the answer to a question. I was humiliated in front of my peers and my self esteem suffered greatly. It has been 23 years since this incident occured and it is still bothersome to think about.

Williamsburg School ditrict should be evaluated and audited.
mcw

Ranson, WV

#15 Feb 16, 2010
Concern wrote:
I feel that Williamsburg County is a sorry county when it comes to anything dealing with children, instead of trying to figure out if it is drugs or anything else they should be figuring out a program that the children can do after school.
I feel the same way. I lived in Williamsburg County for several years. I left there in 1995. After 13 years, I visited my hometown and the only thing that changed was some of the dirt roads were paved and new street signs were put up. The town still looked the same and some of the people are still doing the same thing were doing when I left. I never knew of the schools having afterschool program. The only afterschool activity were if the student were in some kind of program such as band, football or basketball team. I feel you are correct about new things to do afterschool for the students. We have too many opportunities out here for our students. It takes people coming together and making a change in their town. We should always be willing to step out of the box. Being the norm all time gets boring after awhile. I have great ideas for the students in any town. I already have ideas written down for the changes to be made for the town I will be moving to in the near future. I am always open to suggestions. You can just drop a few lines with your ideas.
Someone in SC

Lake City, SC

#16 Feb 26, 2010
Ach. Williamsburg county.
Find a way out if your children have to go to those AWFUL schools!

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