Youth protest police profiling

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A group of young people gathered on Bridge Square this afternoon to protest what they say is the unfair profiling of youth by the Northfield Police Department. (Profiling is when a person is questioned by police for no initial reason other than their appearance. Racial profiling is the most well-known.) Click photos to enlarge.


  1. kiffi summa said:

    re post #44: bait is for fish; most straightforward people would ask a question, offer an opinion, but would not “bait”. I asked a direct question, it was answered, let’s leave “baiting” out in the future. It’s not too Ha Ha!

    Any segment of society has the right, and most likely the responsibility, to protest what they find wrong in any of their govt. processes. The old but honorable “I’m glad to live in a country where it’s legal to burn the flag” thing.

    Seeing as how “kids” are often just given lip service, rather than true equity, in situations such as this, I consider them the Patrick Henrys of the day to have drawn attention to their issue.

    Is anyone questioning the propriety, or validity, of the Iraq war protestors who are in Bridge Square every Saturday? Does anyone think they should have tried to have a friendly dialogue with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al first?

    I’m proud of anyone who treats the rights of our society as worth protesting for; I am sorry for those who see these kids’ engagement in the process as a subject for criticism.

    August 28, 2007
  2. Christine Stanton said:

    “Is anyone questioning the propriety, or validity, of the Iraq war protestors who are in Bridge Square every Saturday? Does anyone think they should have tried to have a friendly dialogue with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al first?”

    Kiffi: That is a poor comparison. For one, I think it would be much easier to have a dialogue with police in Northfield than with Bush, Cheney, or Rumsfeld. Secondly, as far as objecting to the Iraq war, it is being done through multiple forms. Demonstrations are only one way people are protesting.

    I also agree that anyone has the right and responsibility to protest against things they see wrong with governmental processes. Standing on a street corner is only one of way to do it. I would encourage all that feel the police in Northfield are profiling teens to also use the media and discussions to make their voice heard.

    I do not believe anyone here has said that these teens have no right to protest by means of a demonstration. There has, however, been opinions on whether or not teens are being unjustly profiled. Frankly, I would need to hear more information and comments from the police as well before I would be able to form an opinion.

    One thing that does concern me is that the Northfield police have not been involved in the teen initiated discussions about heroin use. I am not sure of their reasoning for not being involved, but it does not send a good message.

    August 28, 2007
  3. john george said:

    Christine- Great post! This brings up, what I would call, a procedural question (for lack of a better term). You observed that the police dept. has been silent and not involved in teen initiated discussions. Perhaps, since they are enforcers of law and policies and not writers of law and policies, they really don’t have a format to respond? I just don’t know on this. I’m sure there are some guidelines out there on this subject. I’ll see what I can find. If anyone else has some insight, I would appreciate it.

    One thing, which I don’t want to use as an excuse, but might be a reason there has been no response, is that the department is in a state of leadership transition. It’s too bad all this had to get started, then the chief had to step away. Hopefully, all the positive momentum won’t be lost.

    The things I have read about other police departments getting closer to their precinct residents are inner city programs. The officers go into an area, spend “off” time with the families, help with service projects, etc. This does wonders for building relationships and familiarity and trust. Is this something that could be implemented here in Northfield? If it is happening, please forgive me for not being aware of it.

    From the presentations I have seen coming from the Northfield youth, especially the Key sponsored dialogues, I would say we have a great start. They are really expressing a desire to see better relationships, and they have gone about it with a good attitude. But, getting “high fives” from people like me, who have no youth in that age group, really isn’t going to accomplish anything. I would like to see some kind of active respone from we adults, but I don’t have the natural connections to realize that.

    August 28, 2007
  4. kiffi summa said:

    Christine: You asked why I singled “him” ( JG) out. Because I felt that most of his comments, on most threads had a similar philosophy of a particular religious world view, or an authoritarian certainty/ aspect to them, and I found that curious, over the broad range of subjects. He doesn’t appear to have a problem with that, and answered directly, by saying that his religious views do inform his life, and speech, in a broad way.

    Second, my comment re the adult protestors was saying that I think the actions of adults and youth are being evaluated differently here, in that the kids’ protest was being questioned as to their validity, i.e. was their protest really warranted, etc. the buried message there seems to be that some adults think they should be “profiled”. No one has asked the adults to justify their actions, in the way I think it is being implied the kids should do.

    As far as dialogues with authority figures, there is a hot line at the White House, where anyone may leave a comment; maybe there’s no one listening, I don’t know.

    But I do know, that when the Key asks the police to sit in on their Youth Board meetings, so that they can build an understanding, the police are a no-show. I do know, although they were invited to the Armory meeting, they were also a no-show there. Chief Smith always made a “big deal”, sincerely, I believe, about preventative style police work. There have been many opportunities to implement that philosophy, and in the two aforementioned cases, those opportunities have been lost.

    August 28, 2007
  5. Christine Stanton said:

    John: As far as you comment, “But, getting “high fives” from people like me, who have no youth in that age group, really isn’t going to accomplish anything,” I beg to differ. There have been people at the Key meeting who do not have teenagers. It is not just a problem for parents and kids; it is a community problem.

    As far as the police involvement, the off duty suggestion is good, but I am not sure how many officers would be willing to do that unless they were paid. It seems to me that, if nothing else, there should be PR or educational efforts on the part of our police department. Maybe that is something the city leaders can encourage, if not mandate. No, the police cannot write the laws, but I would hope they know enough about them to educate the public about them.

    August 28, 2007
  6. Christine Stanton said:

    Kiffi: Thanks for the response. I guess we were posting at the same time, so I did not read your entry until after I posted mine.

    Though no one asked the adult war protesters to justify their actions, I think their agenda and argument is well publicized. If we had a blog going about whether the war was right or wrong, I am sure people would be challenged by some in the same way to justify their actions just as the teen protesters have been in this blog.

    One big difference is that, if they are under eighteen, they cannot vote, which does give them a disadvantage politically. However, I sure hope that is not the reason the police have not been involved in the teen initiated discussions about other matters–namely the drug problem.

    Sorry about that last comment. Yet, as a teen, I would wonder about that, and it would make me feel powerless to change the situation. Actually, sometimes I even feel that way as an adult who is able to vote! Thank goodness there is more that one way to initiate positive changes.

    Maybe you can answer the question as to who could mandate that police ARE involved in discussions concerning them. Couldn’t the city government do that? I know that the Chief of Police reports to Al Roder, but could the City Council tell the City Administrator what to do? I have to admit that I do not know that much about city government.

    August 29, 2007
  7. kiffi summa said:

    Christine: Obviously there’s a bit of a leadership crisis at the NFPD, at the moment, not because there aren’t good officers there, but just because when leadership transitions there’s all sorts of adjustments going on. So they just need to get their “ducks in a row”, and they will, I hope.

    Of course the City Council could tell the city administrator what to do, they are his/her boss. The Council has a bit of a hard time with that employer/employee concept, IMHO; they prefer the
    “poker buddies” relationship. There’s a big difference between the position of city administrator and that of a city manager. Remember the referendum some years ago when the Charter commission brought that vote to an election when the council could not unanimously agree? NF voted to keep the city administrator job description, who is then subject to a strong mayor system, which is what NF is supposed to have.

    Sorry, this is now further off point, but if you read the City Charter, it gives you a pretty good feel for the framework of our city govt. It’s pretty clear and interesting reading, actually.

    August 29, 2007
  8. Griff Wigley said:

    I’m guilty of neglecting this discussion thread after initiating it. But I’m glad to see that the initial rule violations re: sarcasm and not addressing directly those whom you’re disagreeing with haven’t continued. Carry on. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can get someone from the Nfld PD to comment here.

    August 29, 2007
  9. Curt Benson said:

    I also noticed the greatly increased police presence after the press conference and have heard stories about seemingly uncalled for stops of young people where the police checked IDs and sent them on their way. I support people’s right to question and protest this.

    However, Bjorn, aren’t you getting a bit carried away with your victomhood here? In your comment #43 you refer to “excessive police force” in the event that prompted your protest. Where was the “force”, much less “excessive force”? Having tickets handed to you isn’t really “excessive force”, is it?

    Later, in your post #47 you say:

    “After recieving our tickets we were told to have a safe night and they sent us on our way. My friends and I stood dumbfounded on the sidewalk; no offer for a ride, a phone call, a seizure of keys, or even a strict lecture about heading home or not driving.”

    Bjorn, I don’t get it. You were so traumatized by your encounter with “excessive force” that you held a protest. I’ve got to believe that if the “force” was so terrible, you’d hardly want to hop in a police car with your tormentors and get a ride home with them.

    I have a feeling that if the police had given you a ride, you’d come up with another complaint–maybe you’d want the cops to tuck you in bed after reading you a bedside story. (OK, Griff, I know I crossed the sarcasm line here.)

    Josh, I’d be careful about comparing this particular protest to anything from the civil rights movement. Those people were fighting for the most basic of human rights, and some of them died doing it. This protest, according to the only person that has explained himself so far, is a about the right for underaged people with beer buzzes to cut through people’s yards unmolested by the police in search of pizza. This protest seems to be more Al Sharpton than Roza Parks.

    You guys can do better than that.

    August 29, 2007
  10. 1. Young people with developing brains should not be on drugs or alcohol or any dna wrecking substance. At least give yourselves a
    chance to see who you might become before you trash it all. It is
    natural to think you are invincible now, but that’s because you haven’t had any real negative experience to show you otherwise. Nonetheless, you are vulnerable and need protection from your veiled opinions of life. I wish that none of you ever had to have any difficulties in your lives, but that would be naive.

    2. Young people who cannot distinguish between two very different
    concepts should not be setting government policy, neither by vote or by demand. Neither should old people, for that matter.

    3. If there is a problem, accusations, hyperbole, drama, and name calling, substituting one’s thoughts in place of another, assuming,
    bringing in more info to confuse the matter, etc. are not ways
    to solve the problem.

    4. I say the police in Northfield need and should have access to
    the same protection policies as the police in the Cities have. Back up, and more back up, if they deem it necessary. I also say that I have never seen the police show up to any private meeting. They call the meeting time according to their personnel availability, and type of meeting is usually very public, like in a classroom, or outdoor event, or for the media. Police have no business or mandate to sit in a room having accusations tossed at them, or people questioning their sanity, and they have no business
    defending their policies in that situation. They need to maintain
    a professional level of demeanor, and not get personal with anyone
    from the private sector.

    5. If and when the NFPD decides to get acquainted with every teen
    in the city, I am sure we will hear protests that the cops are too
    much into everyone’s business. They cannot win.

    6. If I am defending bad cops unknowingly, and I were to learn of
    that conclusively I would step down and join the other side. Until
    then, I am not taking anything back. I have forty years experience
    of hearing, reading, seeing, and learning about life, both it’s good and bad aspects and I surely don’t see NF as being a police state or anywhere near that.

    7. Paranoia is a very difficult mental disorder. The term should not be used to question someone’s opinion. It is a harassing and
    offputting method to say the least. I call for an apology for myself and anyone who has had to deal with mental illness.

    August 29, 2007
  11. Griff Wigley said:

    Since this topic has included discussion of using drug-sniffing dogs at the Nfld High School:

    Last weekend’s Nfld News: Schools won’t use drug dogs right now, officials say

    Today’s Nfld News editorial: Cost is nothing, results are good

    But in a town where the main topic of conversation over the summer was “How bad is Northfield’s heroin problem?” the district should be determining not whether to use the dogs, but how often. Drug-sniffing dogs are not uncommon in schools. At least one school district in our area has used them and the Rice County Sheriff’s Department has provided that service free of charge. Law enforcement officials in other districts in Minnesota have reported a marked decrease in drug-related incidents in schools that have used drug-sniffing dogs. The Mayor’s Youth Task Force on Alcohol & Drug Use recommended using drug-sniffing dogs at its July 13 meeting. The cost is nothing and the results are fewer drugs in schools. If not now, when?

    August 29, 2007
  12. john george said:

    Christine- Re. your post #55. Yes, I agree that I could have some input into these teenagers’ lives, but I’m not going to go storming in unasked. When I did have teenagers in school, there was a natural connection with other teens that allowed me to build relationships with them. We have had a number of young people live with us over our time here in Northfield. We also have a steady stream of Olaf students coming through our home, presently.

    What I was refering to here is my having no natural connection with The Key or any of the kids who go there. I do think that is important. Without that, I am just one more adult coming in with ideas that aren’t theirs and frustrate their lives. None of us needs that. I will continue what I am doing, because it is having an effect. I do have a heart for these young people, though, and what they struggle with. Perhaps something will open up, yet.

    Bright- I appreciate what you are saying in your post #60, but I have a couple observations. You said, “Nonetheless, you are vulnerable and need protection from your veiled opinions of life.” Much as we parents would like to protect our kids from life’s problems, I don’t think it is possible, especially in our technologicaly advanced age. Also, these are college age kids in this protest, not middle schoolers. This is the time they are transitioning into adulthood, and that transition bears different difficulties for different kids. One of the best things we can do for our kids at this age is to release them to live and make mistakes, and then support them in fixing their mistakes. In the very least, their protest got our attention.

    Same post, comment #5. I think it is possible for the police to get to know the youth of this town without getting into their business. I’m not sure it is possible for them to get to know EVERY young person well, but I think at least being acquainted with SOME of them is possible. This is a two-way street, and as Kiffe pointed out, two opportunities were missed. That doesn’t mean the Key should give up. Josh, I encourage you to keep trying. Two unsuccessful tries over a month’s period of time is not complete rejection, especially in light of the reorganization that is going on right now in the department.

    August 30, 2007
  13. Ray Cox said:

    I was glad to see the editorial in the Northfield News, as it sums up my feelings on getting drug use under control. As I said in an earlier posting, no one has been able to explain to me why drug dogs would not be used as a tool to help eliminate drug use in our schools.

    The Supt. made some very weak comments about why he is deciding not to use this tool, but it sounded more like denial than anything else to me. The News editorial made a strong case for drug dogs, including pointing out that the Rice County Sheriff’s dept will do a certain amount of work at no cost. I’m sure their thought on this is that they want to reduce drug use/sales/abuse in the county and providing trained, quality assistance is part of their mission.

    I don’t know about what other readers think, but knowing that 15 or so HS students received some form of treatment for serious, hard drugs really concerns me. Someone connected with CD work told me that generally about 15-20 percent of drug users actually get some form of treatment. Do the math on this.

    August 30, 2007
  14. BruceWMorlan said:

    I have a question about the use of dogs. Are we talking about a sweep AFTER HOURS just to see if there are traces of stuff in lockers? Or are we talking about dogs in the halls between classes just sort of hanging out? Either seems a little unfortunate, but neither seems to be the end of civilization as we know it. But the people who are susceptible to slippery slope arguments probably see it differently. But the slippery slope argument is why we have some pretty stupid laws about some pretty important stuff (but that’s another topic).

    August 30, 2007
  15. Ray Cox said:

    Bruce, as far as I know the drug dogs are used either in the evenings or other times when students are not in the buildings. Well trained dogs do an exccellent job determining if drugs are or have been present in areas, including lockers. As I noted earlier, I think it is much preferable to do searches with dogs rather than do individual personal checks of lockers. etc.
    However, that statement only holds true if your goal is to determine if students have drugs in your school building. If you want to go along pretending everything is OK, then you don’t do personal inspections or drug dog checks.

    August 30, 2007
  16. Anne Bretts said:

    There is an assumption here that drug dogs work, and I have no proof they don’t I’m just asking. After 30 years of hearing this, I have not seen any evidence that shows whether they work, exactly what that means and how cost-effective they are. It would seem to be very simple to take two comparable schools, set up one with dogs and the other without and do some comparisons over a couple of years. If this has been done, just add a link and I’ll be happy to check it out. I’m researching right now to see what I can find.
    Specifically, is success related to the amount of drugs found, the number of dealers caught, the number of kids routed into treatment or assistance, or the reduction in drug use statistics on the annual student surveys. Those all are vastly different goals, so what is the goal of bringing drug dogs in? I mean, if you’re using dogs and don’t find anything, is it because the users are smart, or the dogs scared them away or the drugs were never there?
    For 20 years we pumped hundreds of millons into the DARE program and yet all the science shows it has no effect at all on drug use — though it can improve kids’ relationship with the cops by getting them all talking to each other before drunken bike riding, fountain sudsing and other hijinks are necessary topic of conversation.
    Wouldn’t it be great if the police liaisons had dogs that could be friends with the kids, the way some nursing homes used dogs as a social tool. Sad that we even have to turn man’s best friend into yet another thing for kids to resent about adults.

    August 30, 2007
  17. Ray Cox said:

    I just finished listening to Mid-Day with Kerri Miller on Minnesota Public Radio. I wish everyone interested in the drug problems in Northfield would listen to the show. ( I think you can by going to Kerri had Joseph Califano on the show. Califano is the former federal secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. He has written a book titled ‘High Society’ that deals with drug problems in America, and focuses specifically on youth.

    On the MPR show there were several students that called in to talk about their experiences with drugs in their schools. It was good to hear one young lady say that when the school started using drug dogs problems were eased. But as Califano noted, there are ways to circumvent drug dogs. It is just one tool.

    Here is something to think about. Some months ago there was a spill of mercury in a public school building in Minnesota—-I forget which community. There was an immediate response, the school was closed and thousands of dollars were used to clean up the spill. Parents would not send their children to school without being assured all was cleaned up properly. BUT…parents seem content to send their children to schools where drug use is common and it is effectively killing a portion of our society. Where is the outrage and concern of parents over drug use—something that creates lasting damage just as bad or worse than an environmental contamination?

    August 30, 2007
  18. Anne Bretts said:

    Ray, I think the difference is that there’s a concensus that mercury is a danger and lots of disagreement over what kinds of drugs are dangerous and how dangerous they are.
    Another interesting point about that…I will try to find the report I read, but our culture of feeding kids cherry medicine and telling them “Take this drug and you’ll feel better” creates the idea that drugs are good and can solve problems. It’s very different from painful shots and the idea is that “This is going to hurt but we don’t have any other choice.” I’m not saying we need to inject vitamins by needle (which I guess would encourage heroin use) but we do need to think about the mixed messages we give our kids, and whether jail and police action are the best weapons in the war against teen stupidity.

    August 30, 2007
  19. Frankly, I think people should do what they feel like doing without my intervention. My dad always said, “Live and let live.” What I am pushing for is a safe society. When you do drugs you support an unsafe society.

    I don’t think the people around here realize what happens when drug dealers get a lock on the situation.

    Why do you think drugs are still around after fifty years?

    Wy do you think people, in general, in the big cities stay home after dark?

    It’s about the perception of making money, although very few
    actually do profit, and where there’s money to be made, there’s often corruption, violence and a sad day for everyone around.


    August 30, 2007
  20. Curt Benson said:

    Tracy, Ross, Griff– How about getting Supt. Richardson on your radio show/podcast to answer questions about the school’s drug policies? (The Twin’s broadcast next Wednesday should be over before your show, so call ins should be doable.)


    August 30, 2007
  21. Christine Stanton said:

    Ray wrote, “If you want to go along pretending everything is OK, then you don’t do personal inspections or drug dog checks.”

    I think that is my biggest beef with the schools–“…pretending everything is OK….”

    There is no doubt that a higher probability of being caught would deter some kids. But, I wonder how a sweep with drug dogs after hours would result in singling out kids who had drugs in school. I heard earlier that many kids do not even use their lockers. How could you pinpoint where the drugs came from? I suppose that would have to result from further checks durring school hours.

    If the intent is to see if there are illegal drugs present in the high school, the drug dogs would be a good way to help verify it. Then again, (I believe it was Bright that mentioned it) what if the dogs do not pick up the scent? Would that be proof the problem does not exist? I hope we would see this as only one tool (as Ray quoted from the MPR show.)

    In the past few years I have heard that drug deals go on right in our high school parking lots. At first, I wondered, “how that could happen?” Over time, I have found that the answer to that question is most likely that the school does not want to deal with it. Whatever their reasoning, I hope that the media coverage this summer will be an incentive to make some important changes in the way the school addresses the problem. Some might say that they would just move the deals somewhere else, but why not give them one less place of opportunity.

    I remember getting notifications from the school that there was a case of head lice or strep throat in my child’s class room. If you look at all the HS parent newsletters from last year year or at the website, there is not one reference to drugs or alchohol. I am hoping that will change.

    A new school year is about to begin. I will support the school in any changes they make that will help keep our students healthier and drug free.

    There is a book that I have that says mothers should pray that their kids get caught. I am going to use that, even if it is my own kid that gets caught. I would rather know for sure there is a problem and try to deal with it than thinking or pretending the problem isn’t there if, in truth, it is.

    August 30, 2007
  22. kiffi summa said:

    I remember hearing Chief Smith say that the drug dogs go berserk in the police station in the desks/work area, because there HAVE BEEN drugs there , on the officer’s desks, as they work up evidence for cases.

    So……how can you assume that any reaction of dogs in the school situation, could be time specific, or person specific, or even not be related to any of the many “visitors” in the school?

    I just continue to think this is such a misguided direction to follow; this is not an urban school where many severe problems proliferate, in direct proportion to the other social-economic problems, and larger population numbers.

    I applaud Supt. Richardson for making a thoughtful decision to Not use dogs, at this time.
    Thank you, Supt. Richardson.

    August 30, 2007
  23. Christine Stanton said:

    After reading Kiffi’s comments, the only way that I could see drug sniffing dogs being effective, is if it was done when students were present. I guess I am unsure how I feel about this. I can see the positives, but I would need to hear more of the negatives before I could have an educated opinion. Maybe some of you could help me with that.

    August 30, 2007
  24. Christine, from your earlier post:

    A new school year is about to begin. I will support the school in any changes they make that will help keep our students healthier and drug free.

    But drug-sniffing dogs won’t keep kids drug-free! They’ll just encourage them to keep their drugs elsewhere. I wrote the following as a letter to the editor yesterday evening, but it’s pertinent to this discussion, so I’ll post it here too:

    I was appalled when I read the August 29 News editorial on drug-sniffing dogs, the end of which stated, “[the] cost is nothing and the results are fewer drugs in schools.”

    Northfield High School has 1,300 students and the only solid number we have is the 30 that have entered treatment (as your editorial stated). Is it worth falsely searching as much as 98% of the student population, because 2% are doing drugs? It’s not substantially intrusive searching, no, but it’s still searching.

    And even that aside, treating kids like criminals saps trust from the school. Can you imagine a student who would feel comfortable opening up to a staff member about a drug problem in an environment where he has just barely more privacy than a prisoner?

    Superintendent Richardson was right to be hesitant about drug-sniffing dogs. Even if you remove the drugs from the schools, I doubt it will really affect drug use. Students will just store and exchange their drugs elsewhere.

    The real thing we should be targeting in schools is drug education. Northfield Public Schools should look critically at its drug education to ensure it’s as honest, comprehensive, and effective as it can be. Maybe then, we can begin to build trust in our schools, instead of breaking it down further.

    August 30, 2007
  25. john george said:

    Griff- Did you know this stream, which started out about the kids’ protest and it’s effectiveness has digressed to drug use in teens and use of drug sniffing dogs in school? I think, though, the underlying issues are related in each case.

    One of the underlying themes I have read in this strean is the issue of “student rights”, both in being able to walk through people’s back yards after dark without being questioned, and to be able to take whatever they please into the public schools without being “sniffed”. If the concept of “rights” is being taught above the concept of “responsibilities”, then I think we have a problem.

    The other idea I have a problem with in certain education models is that kids can’t be taught that something is “right” and something is “wrong.” In physics, there is observable relativity, but if we try to apply that to the teaching of morals, we lose our foundation. There is a reason that a “choice” is “poor”. It is because it is wrong. Until we are able to apply morality to drug education, we are not going to be able to accomplish change. Shame is not a negative emotion. It is a symptom that something is wrong. And there are actions to take to correct a wrong and release us from shame. I have three daughters that teach or have taught in public schools. The thing they have been so amazed at is having to be so careful in their approach to students that they don’t make them “feel bad”. Ross, mnaybe we should listen to those “white Christians in Birmingham, Alabama.”

    Another issue is the attitude that is prevalent in many parents. The idea that you can drive 85 mph. on the road as long as there isn’t a “cop” around to catch you is the same attitude as in the high schoolers who think they can carry drugs into school as long as there isn’t a dog around to “sniff” them. Neither action is a right. In fact, it is a rot in our society. We are one of the best educated societies in the world, and we still can’t obey laws. I don’t have any hope in amoral education programs (and I’m not talking about math & science).

    There is a really great opinion article in the Pioneer Press today, “On the mission of forming a child’s mind and soul,” by Rod Dreher. I would suggest to anyone interested to get a copy of it.

    August 30, 2007
  26. john george said:

    Sean- Thanks for the link. Do you have some in with Al Gore? Oops! Griff- Please don’t take this as sarchasm! It’s just late night humor. I’m always searching for the missing link.

    August 31, 2007
  27. John Thomas said:

    We crossed a street and cut through a backyard, and upon getting on the sidewalk were pulled over under suspicion of burglary.

    That, is called probable cause. That fact that your group was seen cutting through a backyard at night, and that is what got you stopped.

    I am sorry for your experience, but, as a homeowner, and if 4 kids were cutting through my backyard at night, I would want them stopped and questioned.

    You were not profiled. You were stopped for probable cause.

    August 31, 2007
  28. I am sorry for your experience, but, as a homeowner, and if 4 kids were cutting through my backyard at night, I would want them stopped and questioned.

    (Emphasis mine) John, I think that’s Bjorn’s point. Four kids do seem awfully suspicious — maybe your decision to use “kids” instead of something more generic like “people” was not an especially careful one, but maybe it was.

    I don’t think Bjorn disputes that police had legitimate reason to ask them for ID, I think what he’s saying is that they wouldn’t have acted on that reason if he and his friends were, say, 40 years old.

    August 31, 2007
  29. john george said:

    Sean- You said, “I don’t think Bjorn disputes that police had legitimate reason to ask them for ID, I think what he’s saying is that they wouldn’t have acted on that reason if he and his friends were, say, 40 years old.” I’m not sure that is an accurate evaluation of the protest. That is what it was all about, or so I understood it. I thought profiling was considered being singled out without probable cause.

    I do feel that after dark, sitting in a squad car, 4 full grown people look like 4 full grown people. I don’t think the officer could have had any idea what their age was without looking them in the face. I would postulate this, that if the event had been in the daylight, the officer would have driven right past.

    John- I think Sean has a good point here on the difference between “kids” and “people” as an example, but the whole discussion has centered around the “kids”, so I give you the benifit of the doubt on this one.

    By the way, how do you get those quotes framed in those little grey boxes? I looks really neat, but it is beyond my meager computer skills. Just wondering.

    August 31, 2007
  30. We’ll we’ve got 28 minutes before our time is up.

    My impression was that profiling didn’t mean that arrest or apprehensions were necessarily unjustified, just that the police watch you more closely because you fit a certain type. That we all commit crimes, they’re just more likely to find you if you’re — in this case — young.

    I do feel that after dark, sitting in a squad car, 4 full grown people look like 4 full grown people.

    Well I’m splitting hairs here, but I think even in the dark you could tell if someone was 20ish versus 40ish. After all, it’s not completely black and the combination of size, posture, and clothing would reveal enough to be able to get a general idea of the person’s age.

    PS: To make that gray quote box, add <blockquote> before the quote and </blockquote> after it.

    August 31, 2007
  31. Christine Stanton said:

    Here is my entry before the deadline.

    If you compared 4 “kids” in your backyard at night to 4 adults age 40 or so, frankly, I think I would be more concerned if they were adults. Four adults lurking through my backyard in the dark would give me the creeps!

    August 31, 2007
  32. Griff Wigley said:

    Sean has a letter to the editor in today’s Nfld News:

    Drug-sniffing dogs are bad for schools

    I was appalled when I read the August 29 Northfield News editorial on drug-sniffing dogs, the end of which stated, “[the] cost is nothing and the results are fewer drugs in schools.”

    Northfield High School has 1,300 students and the only solid number we have is the 30 that have entered treatment (as your editorial stated). Is it worth falsely searching as much as 98 percent of the student population, because two percent are doing drugs? It’s not substantially intrusive searching, no, but it’s still searching.

    And even that aside, treating kids like criminals saps trust from the school. Can you imagine a student who would feel comfortable opening up to a staff member about a drug problem in an environment where he has just barely more privacy than a prisoner?

    Superintendent Richardson was right to be hesitant about drug-sniffing dogs. Even if you remove the drugs from the schools, I doubt it will really affect drug use. Students will just store and exchange their drugs elsewhere.

    The real thing we should be targeting in schools is drug education. Northfield Public Schools should look critically at its drug education to ensure it’s as honest, comprehensive and effective as it can be. Maybe then, we can begin to build trust in our schools, instead of breaking it down further.

    September 1, 2007
  33. Griff Wigley said:

    Supt. Chris Richardson has a commentary piece in today’s Nfld News: District’s drug policy seeks to do what’s right.

    The fact is that we are not against the idea of using drug dogs at Northfield High School or any other school in the district, but we firmly believe there is a right way and a wrong way to do such a search, and we want to do it right. We are also concerned that the editorial indicated that the Mayor’s Task Force had made some type of formal recommendation to the district about using drug dogs. To the best of our knowledge, the Task Force has made no formal recommendations to the school district nor did it even meet on the date indicated in the editorial.

    September 1, 2007
  34. Joshua Hinnenkamp said:

    I propose drug dogs in city hall, the library, the hospital, the DMV, the public sidewalks, the elementary schools, the municipal liquor store, and the post office. If only we could consent to letting the colleges use drug dogs as well. If we allowed dogs into the local bars we could arrest many prominent members of our community pretending to set good examples for our youth. My hope is that eventually it will be legal for officers to search houses based on a dogs whiff. That will solve the drug problem in Northfield once and for all.

    September 2, 2007
  35. Jane Moline said:

    Yikes! I think I am a lurker, so here goes.

    I initially thought it was neat that some kids decided to protest-even if they did not understand exactly what they were protesting–but Bjorn deserved to be stopped and he deserved the ticket-and, welcome to the real world, the police do not give you a ride home–you are really on your own (until you wake up your sister for that ride.)

    I think we are complacent in Northfield and throughout the country, and do not voice our opinions and protest enough–even if I do not agree with protesters, I think they are bold and strong to peacefully state their opinion.

    I think we have a very serious heroin problem. I think Supt. Richardson is softselling it by not mentioning the students shuttled off to alternative schooling or dismissed because of drug use. They are all our kids, whether they go to the Nfld Public Schools or dropped out, whether they are 20 or rob a bank.

    Some years ago the Northfield public schools developed a plan to NOT identify ADHD students to their parents –and these students grow into self-medicating middle-schoolers who are now heroin-using high-school drop outs. Yes, I am exagerating a little. However, it is true that youth with undiagnosed ADD / ADHD are at risk for drug abuse later in their youth. In criminal statistics, untreated ADD / ADHD youth are a siginificant proportion of law-breakers.

    I am a parent of teenagers. I am torn between wanting the police to “catch” my kids and concerned about abuse of police powers. However, I have a lot of faith in the Northfield police. I think they are some of the finest in law enforcement, having to deal with the dregs of society (yes, we have our share in Northfield) and still maintaining a strong moral compass that keeps them in tune with the people they serve. I am proud of Chief Smith’s strong statement of the “Not in my backyard” campaign and I wish he were here to implement it–it is unfortunate that there was an initial “shoot the messenger” over-reaction to his message.

    When I was in high school our lockers were regularly searched–at least once a year there was a search and clean out of lockers–we knew it would happen. There is a limit to privacy when it is on school property just as there is a limit to your privacy when you are at work. If drug-sniffing dogs scare drug users into hiding their drugs somewhere other than school, that is good. However, it is only one step in addressing the drug problem.

    When students know a friend or acquaintance is drinking or doping, do they tell anyone? Of course not. Youth believe it is noble to keep the secrets from the adults. How do we convince them that telling will help?

    Drinking in high school is at least as serious a problem as heroin use, and more wide spread. I was impressed by the ZAP bust of the house-party of underage drinkers.

    I really believe that students need to know how much we care about them–that we will catch them and they will suffer the consequences of underage drinking, public drunkenness and even curfew violations. They need to know that we will catch them before they shoot-up. There would be a lot less drinking and drug use if the user believes they will be caught-and suffer consequences.

    Which brings me back to the original string–that if the students belive they have been victims of unfair practices–they should protest. However, methinks they knew not what they were doing. (That is my feeble attempt to paraphrase scripture and incorporate some of that part of the string into my verbose response.)

    September 2, 2007
  36. Ray Cox said:

    Lurker or not Jane, you make very important and valid points….thank you.
    I agree that there appears to be more drug use going on in the schools and in Northfield than many people are ready to admit. As I’ve said before, denial doesn’t serve anyone well. You hit the nail on the head when you talk about a strong moral compass. If we as a community cannot give our youth a strong moral compass, who will?
    I’m curious if Northfield schools are not identifying ADHD students to every parent now. What is the reasoning for not identifying them to parents? Even if a student is tested and turns out not being ADHD I would think the school would have seen some concern in the student worth discussing with the parent.
    Thanks for your comments from the perspective of a current parent of teenagers….it has been a few years for me.

    September 4, 2007
  37. Jane Moline said:

    Ray-a number of years ago Lewis directed all teachers to NOT use the terms ADD or ADHD when referring to a suspected ADHD child to their parent. The purported reason at that time was the claim that ADHD is a medical diagnoses and teachers are not qualified to make medical diagnosis. However, it ignored the fact of educational diagnosis, which the Northfield school system had made for years, where testing for ADHD was part of the broad testing that is done for special education purposes.

    This was a result of Special Ed departments state-wide reacting to a change in Minnesota rules that states that if a child is ADHD and qualifies for special ed, there MUST be a medical diagnosis of the ADHD diagnoses on file. (This rule prevents abuse of the ADHD diagnoses by the school and encourages parents to seek medical help in treating ADHD, which responds successfully to medication the majority of time.)

    The schools are using this as an excuse to not identify students who might be ADHD. I believe that Northfield school systems have incorporated this policy in violation of Child Find laws that require the school to identify any child that may be eligible for special education–which may include a child with ADHD.

    And, very unfortuantely for a child that my be ADHD, most medical doctors are not familiar or experienced in diagnosing ADHD–resulting in improper diagnosis. A national study done a number of years ago followed up on ADHD diagnosis and found that the most accurate diagnosis was done by school psychologists followed closely by TEACHERS, 3rd by outside psychologists and psychiatrists, and finishing in last place family physicians.

    So, if a parent suspects their child may be ADHD, and if they request testing by Northfield Public Schools, the school will not offer tests that are used for ADHD diagnosis, and resist or refuse to do the tests if the parent asks. (On this I have first hand experience.) Most parents do not know their rights, and the testing may simply never be done. Some parents may seek additional help and find a doctor who knows what tests are indicated and can evaluate them as well, or not. If that parent does not have insurance or has limited insurance, they may never pursue the medical diagnoses.

    Alternatively, Northfield Public Schools could include the ADHD evaluations in their testing, when indicated, and refer the parent and child to a physician if the tests indicate ADHD.

    This is where I become confused by the Northfield Public Schools policy. Because of my profession and because of who I am, I thought the policy was implemented to save money–because testing of a student is to be done at NO COST to the family– and NPS was simply avoiding the cost of having a medical doctor provide a diagnosis. However, as I stated in my earlier remark–undiagnosed elementary students become self-medicating middle schoolers (self-medicating typically beginning with alcohol abuse) and then turn into heroin-addicted high-school drop-outs, means that these students are trouble for themselves, the school and the community.

    So, I believe that the subsequent cost of failing to diagnose ADHD is more expensive than the cost of early testin. I am unable to reconcile NPS policy as it appears to be unreasonable. In addition, and more importantly, I sincerely believe NPS is violating Child Find laws.

    However, I also think that this is one of the problems in the Northfield community–that undiagnosed ADHD elementary students become trouble-making teenagers. I think that is one of the sources of the problem that leads to underage drinking and drug abuse.

    And that brings me back to letting all these kids–and some of them are not “kids” anymore–that we love them and we want them to grow into healthy adult contributing members of our community. That means we listen to their opinions and give them a forum to express those opinions–like protesting on Bridge Square.

    It also means we hold them responsible for their actions–which means we have to catch them when they are doing something wrong. And that means we let them know what our expectations are–NO underage drinking–not at home with parents present, not at a friends house, not at a farm party, not a couple of beers with your college buddies. I really believe if we focus on the drinking problem, the heroin problem will become less and less of a factor–because fewer students will be at unsupervised parties where they believe they can get away with anything.

    Bjorn blogged earlier about what led to the protest–and he was breaking the law with a few of his buddies, and he got a ticket. Unfortunately, he then went on to rile up a bunch of other young people about what appears to be a false accusation of unfair profiling by the police.

    I think we are a little confused about how we should react–thank Bjorn for coming clean? Also, our own experience may make us somewhat complacent to underage drinking–the legal age of drinking in Minnesota was 18 when I was a senior in high-school–and I could go right in any bar and order a drink. This makes it confusing when my 20-year-old is not legal-I know he is an adult. Some adults may think it is OK to skirt that law. And when 20-year-olds secretly drink, they have younger friends there, too.

    I also know that alcohol abuse has killed more students than heroin.

    Part of the problem is our rigid societal approach to what is legal and what is not, while we sneak around the laws we don’t like. So we have a moral dilemma. And the solution is to unite as a community and make sure our message is clear and consistent. We will not tolerate underage drinking, and we will insist that underage drinkers are subject to the consequences of their actions.

    The hard part of this is how do we implement–we need to find those parties where drinking is going on and haul those kids off–kick them off the football team or whatever and make sure that they know we are all together in this.

    I was speaking with Tom Graupman (activities director at the high school.) I told him what the students tell me–that they believe students are caught violating MHSL rules but do not suffer the consequences equally–i.e., the star player on a team may not serve the time off. There is a perception by the students that consequences are not fairly applied. I think this contributes to the problem as well.

    Tom recounted a discussion with a group of students where they were given a scenario that the student was leaving a dance and encountered two classmates who were on athletic teams and were obviously drinking. When asked what they would do, the students suggested they would offer their drinking classmates a ride home so they would get home safely. They specifically said they would not tell anyone in the school of the MSHL violation.

    This is the problem for the ages–since time began teenagers have hidden their high-jinks from the “others”–old fogies like me. We should remember those days when we were students–we had a lot of secrets from our parents.

    What we need is a way to get the information–and I am stumped. We don’t want our kids to turn into a bunch of narcs. (Which is what we refused to be when we were their age.)

    I was very disturbed about Northfield’s 20-year-old heroin addict bank robber. These are just kids–they should not be going away to prison. Without a doubt, he will suffer the consequences of his actions. But we should be ashamed that our school district failed this student when we did not provide a “free and appropriate education,” and we failed him when he roamed unsupervised and unchallenged into the world of drugs. When we are collectively ready to take responsibility for our inactions, we will be able to move forward as a community to help all our children.

    Part of my whining is because so many of the parents in Northfield are so relieved to know that their child is not a heroin addict that it blinds them to the extent of the drug (including alcohol) problem. We need to do what we can do to make sure that it is not just the kids living in our house, but all of Northfields kids who are loved and safe.

    So if the police want to pull over any young driver to let them know they are watching, and if the school wants to use drug-sniffing dogs, I am all for it. I also think we have to come together as a community with our message–and that is where we are failing. There are many who agree that we need to stamp out underage drinking, but there are probably just as many who think we are overreacting and that we should mind our own business.

    That is why I particularly liked Chief Smith’s “Not in my backyard” moniker–this is our backyard and we need to make our message heard.

    September 4, 2007
  38. Josh Hinnenkamp said:


    I disagree with almost every point that you bring up (and there were a lot). You seem to confuse busting children with helping to fix the problem. When you make an arrest or ticket a youth you are simply showing there is a problem. By focusing energy on this you are denying a chance to come up with a solution. Even if drug dogs were implemented (or house parties continue to be busted) you aren’t fixing anything and to think otherwise is beyond naive. For the sake of argument, let’s say that a policy was enacted that eliminated drugs from the school (which could never happen, even with drug dogs). What have you solved? Kids being high at school? No, kids will just get high before school or after school. The thing that we should be focusing on isn’t whether or not kids are getting high at school, but whether or not kids are getting high at all. That does NOT mean we shouldn’t bust kids at school who are high or obviously holding, so please don’t turn it into that. But I am saying this is simply a band-aid at best and not part of the solution (which should be prevention). Busting kids will not stop use and abuse, and until we admit that, it will be more and more of these ineffective, do-nothing, zero tolerance policies. It disgusts me that my tax dollars pay for this.

    Point two: what makes you think that police are not profiling right now? Have you talked to the youth in this town (besides family)? I don’t see how you could make an accurate judgment on this. It doesn’t sound like you had an open mind to begin with if you claim the youth didn’t understand what they were protesting. It sounds like you had already made up your mind. I think the youth do know what they were protesting and just because teens who have recently been busted took part in it (and were very vocal in it) doesn’t make it any less relevant. If cops started going to the bars and profiled the people there looking for drugs, of course they are going to make more arrests. Does that make it right? Well maybe you think so, but I don’t. And if these same bar patrons protested I would feel they had a right to do so, even the guilty ones. I have talked with many youth who have been stopped (and clean) and quite angry about the incident. I wish more of them had been out there protesting, but Northfield is a small town with a lot of “chatty kathys and chatty keiths”. People make judgments and reputations gets wrecked.

    As far as putting a lot of faith in the Northfield police goes, I do as well. I see them often keep the peace, deal with domestic abuse in a respectful manner, etc. What I don’t see is a comprehensive drug policy that works. It isn’t the officers that I don’t have faith in, it is the public (governmental) policy that is mandated by others. The officers don’t have much of a chance to affect drug use in town when the system they follow is outdated or ineffective. If the answer is more arrests and tickets and punishment…well I think the concept of building more prisons and juvenile detention centers and punishment just isn’t the answer. I could bring out statistics if people wish to be bored (but am willing). Just like abstinence-only for sex education has been proven highly ineffective, abstinence-only education (or zero policy) for drug use isn’t any better. I am hoping that the Youth Board of the Northfield Union of Youth, in conjunction with other organizations like the Mayor’s Youth Council, could instigate a formal relationship with the police officers in town. This way youth could tell police officers their concerns and suggestions and police officers could talk to youth about their concerns. Just forming a relationship would help. “Not in My Backyard” in not effective policy and is a lot of empty rhetoric. Neither is ratting out your friends. We don’t want to raise a bunch of tattle tales do we? If you are concerned about a friend, getting them in trouble will not usually help. If the problem is bad have an intervention. If you rat out a person you don’t know, well people get angry about these things and I would be concerned about the “whistleblower’s” safety. This will also just foster more mistrust and suspicion which is not something that needs to be added to a teenager’s psyche. They have to already deal with that from many adults. They don’t need this from their peers.

    So here is the punchline. How can adults help with this problem of drug use? Going on a blog, might teach you a few things, but won’t fix a problem. The number one thing an adult in this community can do is BECOME A MENTOR. MALES MENTORS ARE ESPECIALLY NEEDED. This is not a lot of time and many studies have shown that this is very effective – life-changing effective. You can go here for more information:

    I will end by saying that focusing on punishment does not equal care. Some people believe in this. I think it causes needless rebellion, mistrust, and a lot of sneaking around. I wholeheartedly disagree with you that there would be less drinking and drug use if people think there might be consequences? Most users know there could be consequences and use anyways. Punishment is not very effective. Realistic education and forming good relationships is more so. So once again, to those who care, please check out this link on becoming a mentor. You can really make a difference by becoming a positive influence on someone’s life and prevent some of the things we have been reading about lately. Talk minus action equals nothing.

    There are no easy answers to the problems that face Northfield, but we need to keep having community dialogs on this matter. I would hate to see these problems get swept under the carpet (the broom is out for many). We need to focus on prevention and after care – this is where more people will be effected.

    September 4, 2007
  39. Jane Moline said:

    Josh- I am afraid I was not at all clear in my statements. I believe part of the problem is the “over criminalization” of drugs. The “War on drugs” does not work, and putting drug users in prison does not help them stop taking drugs except for giving them new challenges in getting drugs.

    The abuse of drugs, including alcohol, is a public health problem. Adults who send a confused, mixed message about alcohol and drug use make it more difficult for young people to understand the issues.

    When I was in junior high school and high school drug education was typically disinformation that was meant to scare the students into not using drugs. However, then as now, young people are smart enough to figure out they were not hearing the truth–and when they found one lie or exaggeration, they assumed that most of what they heard was probably not true. Just like today, some kids found accurate information, some experimented on their own, and some were just too afraid to try anything.

    What I intended to convey is that we have to rely on a united stand on drug use–including alcohol. And the problem is that the kids are not going to narc on their friends or anybody else–and I see that as a problem for us, because we cannot “have an intervention” if we do not know that someone has a problem.

    And I don’t think being ticketed for underage drinking means that we have to build more prisons. I am absolutely against using prison as a punishment for drug use. Our heroin addict bank robber will probably go to prison, and I think that is the saddest, worst possible result for him. He needs medical treatment, not training on how to be a better criminal.

    However, I will stick to my guns–Bjorn was busted for underage drinking and was upset that it took eight cops to make sure he and his buddies were given their tickets. He did encourage other protestors with his story–how can giving a ticket for underage drinking–which he admitted to–be profiling?

    Yes, a “clean” teenager stopped by a cop is going to be afraid and upset because he was not drinking or doing drugs. You may call this unfair profiling, but if a teenager is out at night they may be stopped. If you tell me that the police are bullying that teenager and intimidating them to let them search them or their car, I would be very concerned–but that is not the cases I have heard.

    I am a rabid defender of privacy and civil rights. I think it is very important for all citizens–especially those too young to vote–understand their rights and make sure they stand up for them.

    I defend the rights of those who protested the police profiling, and I was astonished that some thought they should have contacted the police directly–I think it was very reasonable for them to communicate how they felt with their protest, and I have to believe the police heard them.

    I am a bit of a cynic, so I guess I am not very open-minded. I think there weren’t too many that were actually stopped by police as there were that took offense at the idea that they may be stopped by police. So, what are the facts–were 14 young people stopped by police? 4? or 1? And we know about the young people walking harmlessly through backyards after having a few beers–there were 4 of them and they were ticketed, right? So how much police profiling are we protesting? I think the protest was against the idea of profiling–which is a valid opinion. I repeat that I think they had a right to protest.

    Frankly, to tell the truth, I would prefer we lower the drinking age. I think part of the problem is the criminalization of drinking that makes it so enchanting to the younger set. If they could go into a bar and order a drink, maybe binge drinking could be eliminated.

    However, the law right now is that they are not to drink until they are 21. The practice is to go off to an isolated, adult-free spot and drink until you are drunk–and then drive home drunk. And that is what is killing our kids. To top it off, some of them are moving on up the drug chain to heroin. They are not doing that at the Corner Bar–they are doing it at their secret, adult-free rendezvous. So, we don’t want them to be narcs and we don’t want them to drink, right? How do we reach them? I really don’t think that problem teenage drinkers are going in for a meet-and-greet with the local constabulary. The kids the police get to meet are probably the least likely to cause problems.

    September 4, 2007
  40. Scott Oney said:

    Jane and Josh–I’ve been following your discussion and would like to add a coupe of footnotes.

    Using the term “profiling” to refer to what the kids in Bridge Square were protesting may have been misleading; complaints I’ve heard from kids concerning cops would be better described as “harassment.” Profiling involves singling people out because of perceived membership in some category, such as a particular race or age-group. I don’t think Northfield cops are stopping white teenagers totally at random. Rather, they seem to have selected a small subset (who they most likely know by name, so there’s no need for profiling!) that they talk to over and over again. Who knows why the cops pick the kids they do, but, like bullies in gym class, they’re not going to let up until the kids graduate and leave town for college.

    On the subject of the integrity of the local police, at this point, objectively, it’s unknown. I actually interviewed a couple of members of the drug investigation unit in our region over the last year or so. I spoke to Monte Nelson at length last winter, and according to him, he had been a Northfield cop for 12 years (and on the DIU for several) and had never been asked to take a drug test, the most basic form of integrity testing. He didn’t see a problem with this and seemed unclear on why I was even asking. (For a discussion of integrity testing, and drug-related police corruption in general, see the 1998 GAO report “Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption,” available several places online; search on the title.)

    September 5, 2007
  41. Jane Moline said:

    Thanks, Scott for some good points and information. I am surprised that the police do not do regular drug testing. I know of many private and public companies that do regular surprise drug testing of their employees. I thought it would be common for police (and fire) personnel.

    My experience with the Northfield police is mostly through their consistent help with the Defeat of Jesse James Days where they have used professionalism and a “gentle” touch to diffuse some sticky situations. Their recruitment and use of area police volunteers builds relationships throughout the county.

    I am a child of the 60’s, however, and I believe that power corrupts. Because of their power, I believe the police have to especially careful and watchful to avoid being corrupted by their power–and one way to do that is to have healthy, robust relationships with the community.

    It is difficult, however, to maintain a healthy relationship in the community-by attending community meetings and taking time to get to know everyone–when the police are short-handed and under budget constraints. Right now the police department is short-handed, and I think that contributes to their inability to attend some of the community meetings–after you work all day you don’t feel much like volunteering for another assignment.

    Anyway, I think it is interesting that Scott brought up drug-testing for police in this string where we are also talking about drug-searching the schools with dogs. They are related–using a test to deter certain behavior. (We know it won’t “solve” problems–maybe just identify them.)

    September 6, 2007
  42. john george said:

    Josh- You said

    Neither is ratting out your friends. We don’t want to raise a bunch of tattle tales do we? If you are concerned about a friend, getting them in trouble will not usually help.

    Are you really being serious here? This attitude of not being a “tattle tale” is what has empowered every bully I have ever known to be able to dominate his poor victims. I know from experience. I have been on the receiving end. This is the same attitude that has suppressed young people from reporting pedophiles in the past. Finally, we seem to be getting past that, and we need to get beyond that with drug abuse, also.

    Your comment about “getting them in trouble” is a false concept. If ANY person is using habit forming drugs, they are already in trouble. The only way for them to get free is to get this out into the light. If you hold to this notion of not reporting drug use, you are keeping your head in the sand just the same as the person who is denying there is a problem. You have been talking about cooperation between youth and authorities. That is a two way street. There has to be a change in this attitude of “not being a tattle tale.” I have not heard of any person being reported for drug abuse in the recent past who was just thown into jail. They are required to complete a drug abuse program. I know there are some programs out there that aren’t really effective, but there are some that are. These youth need to get into one.

    There is an error in the thinking of many people that they can handle their own problems without any help from others. This is especially prominant in young people who are transitioning into adulthood. This is really dangerous thinking. When you become addicted to drugs, you are not going to be able to get free by yourself. You are going to need outside help.

    There is a quote by Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” I think this is appropriate here. Josh, you have a great amount of influence with the young people in this town. How are you going to use it? Are you going to help these people or are you going to be part of the problem?

    By the way, your encouragement to mentor young people is a great one. I have been involved with this for a number of years. It reminds me of the story about the fellow who was walking along the beach after the tide went out. He was picking up the live sand dollars and throwing them out into the water. Another person came along and abserved what he was doing. He asked him why he was doing it. He told the fellow that he couldn’t make a differnce with all the sand dollars along the whole shore. The fellow picked up another one, threw it into the water, turned to the man and said, “It made a difference to that one.”

    September 8, 2007
  43. john george said:

    Well, one thing is evident- I sure don’t have the blockquote thing figured out! Sorry, folks.

    September 8, 2007
  44. John,
    I’ve fixed the formatting in your comment. You had an extra <blockquote> tag after your </blockquote>.

    September 8, 2007
  45. john george said:

    Sean- Thanks so much! Just evidence of how we need one another!

    September 8, 2007

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