The Jig is Up for Undercover Drug Stings in Schools

This week, our partners, the Drug Policy Alliance, have mailed a letter to the Superintendents of 20 Riverside County school districts, along with a copy of the recent Rolling Stone investigative piece about our son, The Entrapment of Jesse Snodgrass.

We are certain that the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s annual 21 Jump Street style dog and pony show, which accomplishes nothing more than destroying lives, will now be dead on arrival.

We are asking you to download the letter and share it everywhere share this letter everywhere. Share it with your school district’s superintendent. Share it with your school board members. Share it with your principals. Share it with your PTA. Share it with your city officials. And when you do so, share the Rolling Stone article as well.

The day is coming where legislation will permanently end undercover drug stings in schools, but until then, this is how we can make them stop immediately. Any administrator who reads the letter will understand the risks to their students, and the potential liability to their school districts and to themselves.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

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Rolling Stone Magazine: The Entrapment of Jesse Snodgrass

The new issue of Rolling Stone tells the full story surrounding our son’s in-school entrapment, arrest, detention, expulsion battle, and our efforts to rescue him.

In addition to several hours of telephone interviews, the writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, spent two days with us in November, recording lengthy interviews with us, and our son, who is also identified in the article.

It begins like this.

Jesse Rolling StoneJesse Snodgrass plodded around yet another stucco corner, searching for Room 254 in time for the second-period bell, only to find he was lost yet again. Jesse felt a familiar surge of panic. He was new to Chaparral High School and still hadn’t figured out how to navigate the sprawling Southern California campus with its outdoor maze of identical courtyards studded with baby palm trees. Gripping his backpack straps, the 17-year-old took some deep breaths. Gliding all around him were his new peers, chatting as they walked in slouchy pairs and in packs. Many of their mouths were turned up, baring teeth, which Jesse recognized as smiles, a signal that they were happy. Once he regained his composure, he followed the spray-painted Chaparral Puma paw prints on the ground, his gait stiff and soldierly, and prayed that his classroom would materialize. He was already prepared to declare his third day of school a disaster.

At last, Jesse found his art class, where students were milling about in the final moments before the bell. He had resigned himself to maintaining a dignified silence when a slightly stocky kid with light-brown hair ambled over and said, “Hi.”

“Hi,” Jesse answered cautiously.

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California Government Opens Formal Investigation of Temecula Valley Unified School District

Parent Input Meeting Brochure Page 2Parent Input Meeting Brochure Page 1The California Department of Education (CDE) has initiated a formal investigation of the Temecula Valley Unified School District. The investigation has come to light just months after the CDE issued a notice of non-compliance with corrective actions against TVUSD related to their suspension and attempted expulsion of our son.

On Thursday night, January 16, 2014, the CDE conducted a parent/guardian input meeting at the TVUSD administrative office. In attendance were approximately 100 parents and/or guardians of special education students, and several personnel provided by the CDE. No TVUSD administrators were in attendance.

Community ResourcesA brochure, paper questionnaires and electronic devices for answering questions were provided to the audience. The brochures included the following:

CDE will investigate your district using these methods:

  • Parent/Guardian Input Meeting
  • Interviews with parents and district staff
  • Visits to school sites
  • Review of policies and procedures
  • Review of program implementation
  • Review of student records

CDE will prepare a Corrective Action Plan based on findings of non-compliance found during this review.

Contact your district Superintendent for results of this review.

Here are some personal thoughts and observations.

Having the perspective of working in a government regulated industry for 15 years for companies that are subject to FDA regulatory oversight, it appears that the process being followed by the CDE is strikingly similar to an FDA audit. FDA audits are very serious matters, and the FDA can choose any corrective actions they feel appropriate. In the most egregious cases, criminal prosecution can be recommended.

The CDE’s parent/guardian input meeting included several extraordinary exchanges.… Read more

Riverside Sheriff’s Dept arrests another disabled child in school, this time for a $3 Vicodin pill

Last month, one year and one day after several armed police officers rushed into our autistic son’s classroom at Chaparral High School in Temecula, CA, handcuffed him in front of his classmates, took him away, medically probed him, interrogated him without a lawyer, booked him, and then locked him up, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department did it again, this time, about 20 miles down the road. It was in a different school, but the details and results were strikingly similar.

The Press Enterprise has now been confirmed that the similarities are even more sickening than we first knew.

A 15-year-old Menifee special-education student, one of 25 teens arrested in an undercover school drug bust, is spending Christmas in juvenile hall.

The Paloma Valley High School freshman is charged with a felony after selling a single Vicodin pain pill for $3 to a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy who posed as a student all semester, the boy’s mother said.

Monique Gallo said her son suffers from learning disabilities and reads at a third-grade level. He used the $3 to buy snacks at school, she said.

[…]

But because her son was on probation, the judge ordered him to stay in juvenile hall through the holidays, Gallo said. She said he got in trouble for fighting at his middle school last year. Gallo said she and her ex-husband can’t afford a private attorney for their son.

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This is How We Will End Undercover Drug Stings in Schools

This is How We Will End Undercover Drug Stings in Schools

We believe that by making our son’s story public, and by holding the school district accountable through highly visible legal action, we have the opportunity to make what happened here so well known that when school districts are approached by law enforcement, offering to bring undercover drug stings to their campuses, school administrators will think twice. 

These undercover drug sting operations are still happening in schools across the nation at an alarming rate, and they do not work. The Los Angeles Police Department, who pioneered these operations, actually stopped doing them because they were ineffective, and entrapped a very high ratio of special education students and minorities. And zero tolerance policies allow the civil rights of kids to be trampled, which is what happened to our son.

So we find it ironic that these sting operations entrap kids who don’t have drug problems, while ignoring the real issues involving students and drugs. They create problems and headlines, but never solutions.

Please click here to sign our Change.org petition asking California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to end undercover drug stings in schools.

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This is Who We Are Partnering With

We are partnering with the Drug Policy Alliance. We want to see an end to undercover drug sting operations in schools and our hope is that we will start to see schools instead choose real world approaches like those described in the Drug Policy Alliance’s publications Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs, and Beyond Zero Tolerance: A Reality-based Approach to Drug Education & School Discipline. Drug abuse should be treated as an illness, not a crime. A victory will deal a blow to misguided Zero Tolerance policies and the School to Prison Pipeline.

We are also partnering with Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society.

SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future, while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth.… Read more