Profile of Nathaniel Smalls

Document Date: December 15, 2003

Nathaniel Smalls, age 14 and a 9th grader at Stratford High School, and his mother Sharon Smalls, are concerned about the way in which the drug raid was carried out by the Goose Creek Police Department and Principal McCrackin. Smalls was standing in the main hallway when police officers rushed in with guns drawn. They ordered him to drop to his knees, face the wall, and put his hands behind his head.

Police officers patted Nathaniel down and told him to empty his pockets. They searched through his wallet while a dog sniffed the contents of his book bag. He never gave his consent to these searches and did not understand why students were being held at gunpoint in the hallway.

""At first I thought it was a Columbine-type thing. I was afraid someone would get shot by a police officer or maybe a student with a gun. I wish they had told us they were searching for drugs first,"" said Nathaniel. ""I don't feel like I can trust anybody at school now, especially police officers. They might pull a gun on me again.""

Sharon said that seeing the video clip of the raid on national television was ""deeply disturbing"" and a ""total shock."" Sharon has been instrumental in organizing parents who do not approve of adult police tactics being used on children.

""These are our children in a school, not drug dealers in a crackhouse,"" she said. ""School should be a safe place, not a place where the kids think they might be held in handcuffs at gunpoint in between classes.""

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