Profile of De'Nea Dykes

Document Date: December 15, 2003

De'Nea Dykes, age 16, is an 11th grader at Stratford High School. During the drug raid on November 5, 2003, De'Nea was walking out of the school bathroom when she saw four police officers storming down the hall toward her with guns drawn, yelling at everyone to ""Get down and put your hands behind your head!"" She then saw Principal George McCrackin come down the stairs with another group of police officers. De'Nea immediately dropped to the ground and stayed on her back for the duration of the raid, which lasted about one hour. When De'Nea attempted to adjust her position on the floor, McCrackin said, ""Didn't I tell you not move!"" During the course of the raid, police also pointed a gun directly at De'Nea.

""When the police officer pointed the gun at me, like two feet away, I thought I might be shot - I really did feel like my life was in danger,"" recalled De'Nea.

De'Nea did not understand why police were raiding the school at first, but when she saw the dog walking up and down the hall she realized they were looking for drugs. De'Nea said that the dogs were excited, barking loudly and grabbing at students' book bags with their teeth.

Drugs and students bringing weapons to school have not historically been a problem at Stratford High School, according to De'Nea. Since the raid, she says that students and teachers have been divided in their support of the principal's actions. ""I don't object to the school trying to keep drugs out of school if there is a problem,"" said De'Nea, ""I do object to them doing it like this - with guns and all that mess. It just wasn't called for.""

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