Rodney Goodwin, age 15, is a 10th grader at Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina. During school on November 5, 2003 Goodwin was handcuffed, held at gunpoint, and searched three times by the principal of the school and Goose Creek police officers. He believed he was under arrest. He also encountered a large, ill-behaved and uncontrolled drug dog that sniffed his belongings. Rodney is angry and humiliated about having to go through this at school and was afraid that the large dog would bite him. He has never used drugs and feels that his rights were violated by the principal and the police when they searched him for no reason and without his permission.
Rodney was a new student at Stratford and wondered if what was happening was normal procedure at the school. He was so upset and concerned about the raid that after his first class was over he immediately called his mother to relay what had happened.
“”I knew I didn’t do anything wrong, didn’t have anything to hide – but I was upset that the cops told me I was under arrest when they didn’t have anything to arrest me for,”” Rodney said.
The morning began with Rodney’s usual routine. He took the bus to school and sat in the cafeteria waiting for classes to begin. After he had been sitting at the cafeteria table for a few minutes, Principal George McCrackin pointed him out to three police officers who yelled at him and several other students at that table to “”put your hands on the table and don’t move! You are under arrest!”” Rodney was then handcuffed by police officers and taken into the main hallway of the school, where he was shocked to see more than 100 of his fellow students in a state of lockdown. The drug-sniffing dog was barking wildly and tearing at the book bags that lay in the middle of the hall. A police officer pointed a gun at him as Principal McCrackin thoroughly searched Rodney – patting him down and reaching inside all of his pockets. Police then searched inside Rodney’s shoes and book bag.
“”I don’t ever want to go back to that school – and I don’t want my little brothers to go there either,”” Rodney said. Every time he returns to the cafeteria in the mornings before classes start, he said, “”the scene replays in my mind over and over again. I just want to stop thinking about it now.””
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