School Starts Today: Be Sure To Pack Lunches, Snacks, Books, Pencils, and Oh Yeah, the US Constitution

know-your-rightsIt is still about an hour or two before our second grader will excitedly get up and head off to school.  Like many kids, he will have his backpack filled with snacks, his books, paper and pencils.  But this year we have done something new for him, we told him about his constitutional rights, should he ever be confronted by a situation where the police want to talk to him.

It is sad that it has come to that, but just as we describe to children in great detail what to do if they ever encounter a stranger, it is time to teach them their rights when confronted by police.

The name “Student Resource Officer” implies something wholly different than what it actually is.  The resource officer is supposed to be a resource for children, an asset used by the community and the school in an attempt to address situations in the lives of students in a forum other than the judicial system.

It involves the placement of a law enforcement officer within the education environment, involved in a number of functions that aim at prevention.

According to one handbook, “The SRO is a resource for students, parents, teachers and administration regarding law issues.”

In the past, there have been some questions about the role that Student Resource Officers play on the high school campus.  The SRO was brought in, in the belief that the officer could serve as a valuable resource to the students.

“We’re fortunate,” Superintendent Roberson explained to the Vanguard, “Davis PD works with the school district and we do have a resource officer at our secondary schools.”

“I am comfortable with the role that the Davis Police Department [plays] and our partnership,” he said.  “Our resource officer is exactly that, he is a resource for students as well as our staff there at the site.”

However, one thing that people need to understand is that these are police officers that we are putting onto our campus.  They do not stop being police officers just because there are students and school issues at play.

And so, when we see a young student like Alana de Hinojosa, taken from her class, questioned and threatened for an hour with no parents, no lawyers, no advocate from the school district, it makes all parents uneasy.

To me it was a feeling of betrayal.  Our second grader has had a rough year of transition away from his mother and into our home.  At one point we reached out to the police department because he looks up to police officers, aspires to be one in the future.

Chief Black sent Officer Ellsworth, the day before he became the SRO, to our home.  He talked with us and visited with the child periodically throughout the year.

Little did we realize that he would be doing things to other students that would appall us and violate our trust.  Sadly, as the result of this incident we have told our second grader he is to have no further contact with Officer Ellsworth.  That trust has been betrayed.

If that is the role that police officers play, whether they are designated SROs or otherwise, then our children need to understand that they have rights under the law.

According to the school district’s code, Section BP 5145.11, “Law enforcement officers have the right to interview and question students on school premises.”

The code continues, “If the officer needs to interview or question the student immediately, the principle or designee shall accommodate the process, and give the student appropriate privacy, and if requested by law enforcement officer will share information to the maximum extent permitted by law, modeling cooperation with community law enforcement authorities.”

Furthermore, “The principal or designee shall request to be present during the interview and such request may be granted at the law officer’s discretion and with the student’s approval.”

I do not have any idea what any of that means in terms of the duty a staff member has to a child or a student in their care, and we need to fix that and quick.

What the code does not talk about are lessons that Alana de Hinojosa could have taken to heart, and lessons that could have helped her.

She said that she wants the public to understand that she was an adult at the time that this happened, that she was taking AP Government and studying journalism.

“For two years, I knew my rights, I understand that and I understand the school is not required to give me my Miranda rights, my Miranda warnings. But I just feel, I feel very strongly that the school acting as loco parentis shouldn’t have let that happen,” she said.

“I felt like trash in that room,” she added.  “I was so stripped down to the very core that I felt so vulnerable, that I had no option. I had actually no options and I wasn’t told that I could leave, or told that I could call my parents.”

I do not know about you, the reader, but it was very painful to hear and read those words.  This is someone who trusted in the system and feels betrayed.

I feel like we betrayed her.  Like we did not give her the tools to fight back.  She held firm to her convictions that she was not obligated to turn over the names of the individuals she spoke with, but what she did not know was her rights.

That is what we must teach the children – their rights. Does your child know what to do if they encounter law enforcementDo they know what to do if they are stopped by the police?

We also want to believe that if we have done nothing wrong, we have nothing to fear.  And yet thousands of people who are completely innocent get entangled in criminal prosecutions each year, and some even get convicted of crimes wrongfully.

They have the right to remain silent.  They have the right to ask if they are being detained and if they are not being detained they have the right to leave.  But one of the points that the ACLU’s Know Your Fights folks make is an important one, “You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.”  You need to be assertive and in order to be assertive, you have to be sure about your rights.

If they are being detained, they have the right to ask for an attorney.  It is not clear that they have the right to request their parents be present.

But is this not an unfair burden to a student?  Should not the district, even though Ms. de Hinojosa was technically an adult at age 18, have informed her of those rights prior to questioning?  Should they not have acted in loco parentis by acting as a parent would?

The one thing I think everyone believes is that what the ACLU suggests makes sense: (1)   Revise existing policies on police interrogations; (2)   Train school personnel about students’ rights with respect to law enforcement officers; (3)   Advise students of their rights with respect to law enforcement officers before any on-campus police interrogations; and (4)   Prohibit law enforcement personnel from interrogating students on district property without first obtaining parental consent.

Where things, I think, diverge is that both the district and police believe they followed the rules.  If what Ms. de Hinojosa says is accurate, and to me she was extremely credible, then something went wrong.  It is not supposed to work this way.

If the police did not violate any laws, and from what the student says, I believe that to be accurate, then the problem rests with school policies, district training and students understanding their rights.

I was reading the police report, interestingly enough, from Elk Grove about that shooting, and at the beginning of the interview with the officer it said, “As per Elk Grove Police Department Policy No. 310. Officer Beckham was advised that he was not in custody” and that he was free to leave the interview. He was advised that he was not obligated to answer incriminating questions. He was further advised that any voluntary statement provided by him would be made available for inclusion in the Administrative or other related investigations.”

Think about that for a second.  In the contract that police officers have, they have guidelines that they must be informed of.  Why do students not get the same treatment?  Why is it that the district does not have a guideline that informs a student – who is far less knowledgeable of the law than a police officer – that they are not in custody and therefore free to leave the interview, that she is not obligated to answer incriminating questions?  This officer was accompanied by his attorney, so why are students, most of whom are minors and all of whom are young and lack knowledge, given so much less in the way of tools and information about their rights?

I still think the public needs to know what happened here, but I think we can all agree on tightening up the school policy, teaching the students that under our Constitution they have the right not to talk until and unless they have someone serving as their representative and their advocate, and teaching students when they are free to leave and when they must stay.

I hope the school district goes back and fixes their policies and fixes their process of adhering to those policies.  Until then, my instruction to my kids will be, you will not talk to the police without my presence or the presence of an attorney that I have asked to represent you.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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67 Comments

  1. E Roberts Musser

    Who asked that there be a police resource officer in the schools? Did the request emanate from law enforcement? The schools? City Council? Members of the public? If it was members of the public, be careful what you wish for…

    [quote]If they are being detained, they have the right to ask for an attorney. It is not clear that they have the right to request their parents be present.[/quote]

    If the student has the right to remain silent (and they do), they have the right to say “I am not saying one word unless my parents are here to advise me”. So in effect students have the right to request their parents be present at any questioning session by administrators or the police.

    [quote]I was reading the police report, interestingly enough, from Elk Grove about that shooting, and at the beginning of the interview with the officer it said, “As per Elk Grove Police Department Policy No. 310. Officer Beckham was advised that he was not in custody” and that he was free to leave the interview. He was advised that he was not obligated to answer incriminating questions. He was further advised that any voluntary statement provided by him would be made available for inclusion in the Administrative or other related investigations.”

    Think about that for a second. In the contract that police officers have, they have guidelines that they must be informed of. Why do students not get the same treatment? Why is it that the district does not have a guideline that informs a student – who is far less knowledgeable of the law than a police officer – that they are not in custody and therefore free to leave the interview, that she is not obligated to answer incriminating questions? [/quote]

    The two situations are entirely different, and the nuanced difference is important to understand. In the Elk Grove case, the suspect was under arrest, so was informed of his rights bc it was required by law. In the Davis schools case, the student was not under arrest, but being questioned. Law enforcement had every legal right to question her, and so did the school under its loosey-goosey and very questionable policy.

    [quote]The one thing I think everyone believes is that what the ACLU suggests makes sense: (1) Revise existing policies on police interrogations; (2) Train school personnel about students’ rights with respect to law enforcement officers; (3) Advise students of their rights with respect to law enforcement officers before any on-campus police interrogations; and (4) Prohibit law enforcement personnel from interrogating students on district property without first obtaining parental consent.[/quote]

    This is what needs to be done, postehaste. I would also add that the schools should be more careful in supervising student publications, to make sure no student is put in the position this one was placed in.

  2. SODA

    David!
    You yourself have said at least twice in previous two articles that all we knew was one sided version of the story so far and we didn’t necessarily know the truth. Now you ‘overeact’ in my opinion and poison your nephew. I tend to be outraged by the story so far myself but think you are way out of line with this article. What was your neohew’s reaction?

  3. Old Skool Davis

    Wow! What a trip to throw on a fragile 2nd grade kid. What’s next? Are you going after Chief Black? We are not perfect in our community. I feel safe knowing that Chief Black and Officer Ellsworth are genuine professionals.

  4. rusty49

    “And don’t forget to pack a can of spray paint so you can tag your school!”

    Gunrock, exactly, many on here think graffiti is art or a form of free expression. Let them offer up their fences or the sides of their houses to these vandals and see how they feel then.

  5. medwoman

    Gunrock and rusty49

    No one here is defending the actions of these particular taggers who are clearly not artists but merely kids seeking attention as made clear in Ms. deHinojosa’s article. This controversy is not about the taggers but about journalistic rights, school policy and whether the “immediacy” of the need for questioning warranted the students being removed from their classes to be questioned withou parental notification.
    I don’t think there is much doubt at this point that the police were within the law, but strict legality does not equate to the best choice.

    And to rusty49 in particular, I do not consider civil liberties to be a “molehill”.

  6. medwoman

    Old Skool Davis

    I also feel safe within our community. I have a respect for our police and am deeply grateful for their role in our community. However, it is actions such as these that undermine that respect. I agree that no one is perfect. However, what I have not seen is any admission on the part of the police or school officials that there could have been even a hint of heavy handedness in their approach. Without revealing details, which I understand they are not at liberty to do, some acknowledgement that perhaps the situation could have been handled more gracefully would go a long wat towards restoring trust.

  7. Ryan Kelly

    David’s response is understandable and this was acknowledged by the Davis Police Department that incidents like these do a lot of damage to how the community views the Department. I don’t think the police officer erred in how he did his job. There must be a high level of frustration about the amount of graffiti that we see around town and the knowledge that kids know who is doing it, but won’t tell. I am more disturbed by how the school administrator failed at following Board Policy in not contacting parents and then taking the student’s cell phone without the student violating school policy concerning its use. It doesn’t matter that we only hear one side of the whole story. These two facts – no contact of parents and the confiscating of the phone – are enough. The District is free to fill in the lack of data and has chosen not to. They have that right – something that they did not extend to the student.

    David, I would rethink your decision about the officer. He is a really good officer, otherwise we would have heard more than one negative report about his actions.

  8. medwoman

    rusty49

    Having the ability to only hear one side of a story does not decrease the importance of the story itself. And, as I indicated in another post, I would love to hear the police and school officials side of the story. Unfortunately, we probably never will because they can maintain their silence under the, in my opinion, all too convenient claim of confidentiality.

  9. medwoman

    Ryan Kelly

    Again, with genuine respect to our police department, it is precisely when they are facing “a high level of frustration” that I would expect the police to act with the most self restraint and diplomacy. I would be in complete agreement with the immediate questioning of a student who might have information about a dangerous situation such as a planned school shooting or a planned gang action. However, there was clearly no such imminent threat in this case. It is not the questioning of the students that I find objectionable. It is the tactless manner in which it was conducted when there were other less dramatic and less disruptive ways in which the questioning could have occurred.

    To those who state, accurately, that we only know one side of the story, this is true,but incomplete. We only know one side of the story regarding what occurred behind closed doors while the students were being questioned. No one is disputing that a police officer went to the campus, caused the students to be removed from classes for questioning before notification of their parents. I find these actions, in and of themselves, to fall far short of the degree of wisdom and exemplary action that we should expect from our police, certainly in non urgent situations such as this one.

  10. SODA

    “to fall far short of the degree of wisdom and exemplary action that we should expect from our police,”

    Medwoman: And I dare say our school district who should be watching out for our kids.
    Again my beef wasvwith David who went ahead with limited info and I fear biased his impressionable nephew about the police. I am pretty sure his nephew wouldn’t be able to distinguish between complete truth and following of policy.

  11. AdRemmer

    Is it just me, but is this story the fist time we read that the pupil had reached the age of majority?

    [quote]She said that she wants the public to understand that she was an adult at the time that this happened,[/quote]

    Ergo, no need for parent notifiction.

    Ah, nothing like better-late-than-never-full disclosure in journalism….

  12. AdRemmer

    [quote]Why do students not get the same treatment?[/quote]

    She did have the same rights. The school admin action was not a custodial interrogation such that Miranda warnings were necessary. And more importantly – was not the line of questioning regarding the conduct of others? Thus she would not be implicatig herself – so no warning needed, no?

  13. Ryan Kelly

    AdRemmer – This is a School Board policy relating to students. There is no differentiation between students who are under 18 or over 18. It details what the administrator should do when an officer comes to the school to interview/interrogate a student. She did not follow the Board policy.

    It is clear that there was threat of prosecution if she did not cough up the names. So, weren’t they making a claim that she was suspected of a crime by remaining silent on this?

    Why confiscate her personal possessions (cell phone)? What right did they have for doing that? Wouldn’t that be illegal seizure?

  14. Adam Smith

    [i]Unfortunately, we probably never will because they can maintain their silence under the, in my opinion, all too convenient claim of confidentiality. [/i]

    Medwoman, I would guess there is one other little thing stopping the police and the school – fear of a lawsuit, especially given the attack from the ACLU and this blog site. It tends to make people shut up.

    I go back and forth regarding how I feel about the story as we know it. In the end, it seems like those siding with the student are trying to have their cake and eat it too. On the one hand, they emphasize that the student, implying some child-like protective status. But she was exercising a journalistic right and protecting the criminals who are creating this graffiti. In so doing, she creates the opportunity, right and duty for the police to question her, because she knows the identity of the criminals. She comported herself as an adult and used an adult civil liberty as protection form disclosure, but if she is going to do that, I don’t think she gets to hide behind or age, or the fact that she was at school.

    Now I doubt that I would feel good about what happened if she was my child, but I wouldn’t feel very good about her writing a story and protecting criminals. (And before you guys start in with “graffiti isn’t a serious crime”, I remember some incidences regarding “hate” graffiti which generated a firestorm of concern on this blog and around Davis).

  15. Ryan Kelly

    I have said repeatedly that the police officer is not the problem. It was the actions, or inaction, of the school administrator. She did not follow Board Policy on how to handle police interrogation of students at school during school hours. Specifically, she did not call the student’s parent to let them know that there was a police officer at the school to interview the student and she would be pulled out of class to do that, the administrator participated in interrogating the student and then confiscated the student’s personal belongings when the student had done nothing to warrant the confiscation.

  16. Adam Smith

    [i]I have said repeatedly that the police officer is not the problem. [/i]

    Ryan, I think you have been consistent on this point, but there are others who have been much more pointed about the police, especially David. He is teaching his second grader to not trust or talk with the police.

  17. medwoman

    Adam Smith

    I think you misunderstand my objection. I do not at all mind the police questioning her. I don’t even object to them questioning her without her parents present since she is technically an adult at age 18, which I just realized. However, I do feel the boy who is a minor should have had advance parental notification. And in neither case should the questioning have been done on campus because of the disruption this causes not only to these two students, but to all of their classmates. And to those of you who would argue that this is a minimal disruption, do you not remember all the whispered and written speculation that accompanied a classmate being pulled out to what in my time was called “the principles office”. There was no urgent need for the questioning and therefore no need to do it on campus. What objection would you have to the police having requested to interview her off campus at a mutually agreeable time and location ?

    As to your second point, all graffiti isn’t created equal. Just as these taggers work would not be considered art, even by them judging from their own comments, neither is it likely to be related to any gang activity nor is it written with hateful intent (unless you consider the wasteful cat and mouse game they are playing with those who clean it up as hateful).

  18. Tecnichick

    [quote][/quote]We also want to believe that if we have done nothing wrong, we have nothing to fear. And yet thousands of people who are completely innocent get entangled in criminal prosecutions each year, and some even get convicted of crimes wrongfully.[quote][/quote]

    This is exactly correct and not too many people will see your point of view because they think that the police are there to “get the bad guys” when in fact until it happens to someone they know, they will not understand that there truly are underlying things that are of paramount importance to law enforcement such as receiving grant money, statistics and promotions (status quo) or pressure from a third party/agency. In a perfect world we should trust the police but the reality is we should not. I too, am teaching my children to be cautious when approached by the police.

  19. Superfluous Man

    AS, “She comported herself as an adult and used an adult civil liberty as protection form disclosure, but if she is going to do that, I don’t think she gets to hide behind or age, or the fact that she was at school.”

    The rights and school policies afforded students no longer apply once the pupil reaches 18?

    “Now I doubt that I would feel good about what happened if she was my child, but I wouldn’t feel very good about her writing a story and protecting criminals”

    On the other hand, a parent may find pride in their daughter’s journalistic ethics and belief in this a “service profession (school newspaper or Sac Bee),” which educates the public.

  20. hpierce

    Interesting… do techichick (VERY interesting ‘handle’) and medwoman support the ‘first amendment right’ that graffiti is ‘free speech’? Does anyone understand the cost of removal? Oh, I know (?) the costs should be ‘absorbed’ by reductions to city employee salaries &/or benefits… the same employees who are facing a large increase of the incidents that they are expected to deal with…

  21. Adam Smith

    Medwoman –

    I agree that this could have been handled outside of school grounds, but I think the issue comes up at school b/c she used to school newspaper as her outlet. I imagine the police would have done the same thing at the Davis Enterprise, should she have worked there. And this is the rub, as I see it: she is an adult, she used her “journalism privilege” in a school newspaper, and the school is apparently required to let her print this type of article. Under those circumstances, I think the police are within their rights to treat her as they did.

    David, the more I think about this situation as I know, I think you are just wrong about your conclusion here. It apparently turns out that her civil and constitutional rights were not violated, and you are teaching children, based on this action, not to trust the police.

    Superfluous Man – there are certainly journalistic efforts that are worthy of protecting and being proud of. Writing an article which glorifies criminal behavior and protects those that broke the law, doesn’t qualify in my set of ethics. I would be proud of my child’s willingness to stand up for herself, but there is a price to pay for that – it isn’t free – and this student’s attempt to hide behind in loco parentis just isn’t right. She acted as an adult, used an adult civil liberty, and if she does those things, then she can’t suddenly call on in loco parentis to avoid facing the full impact of the police in their attempt to locate criminals.

    Let me try this question- would you guys feel differently had she written an article in the school newspaper in which it becomes clear that she knows the identity of of previously unidentified dope dealers or murderers? Would you be proud of her journalistic ethics?

  22. Mr.Toad

    Adam Smith, The cops like to pull kids out of class because they are easy to find there.

    Wow David! Leave your kids out of the articles its just bad form. But since you opened it up it is shocking that you would betray the good will of the DPD in helping with the 7 year old. While its never too early to teach why this is a great nation 7 year olds don’t get prosecuted for their mistakes so its quite early to teach that they shouldn’t cooperate with the law. At what age should they learn not to talk to the cops? I don’t know but 7 seems young and your response seems overblown. Maybe the right age would be the youngest age you can be charged with a felony.

    Resource cops are cops assigned to schools that are paid for out of school budgets. They are cops, they investigate crime and in doing so help keep your kids safe at school. This time they messed up leaning on kids to make us safe from ugly graffiti. But to call into question the entire program and the integrity of those involved seems over the top. An internal investigation followed by an internal directive any mistakes to those involved should be enough.

  23. medwoman

    SODA

    I would prefer exactly what I said. That they had questioned her at a mutually agreeable time and location. maybe her home, maybe the police station, maybe her lawyers office. And I would prefer that they arrive separately so she does not have to feel that she is being “taken” anywhere. Your objection to this would be?

    hpierce

    I do not, and have never implied in any of my posts that I support any first amendment rights of the taggers. I have stated that for me this is not about rights of the taggers. It is about the journalistic rights of the author. And it is about the unnecessarily disruptive way in which the police and school officials chose to conduct their questioning.
    Also, having read her article, I did not find that it in any way glorified the taggers. By quoting them directly, I thought she portrayed them accurately as the immature, thoughtless, attention seeking adolescents they are. And yes, I am well aware of the expense of graffiti removal.
    But I am also keenly aware of the cost to society of lack of respect for journalistic freedom and lack of trust and respect engendered by heavy handed police tactics.

    Adam Smith

    Again, once I knew that Ms. deHinojosa is technically an adult, my objection to her being questioned without the pre notification of her parents changed. What did not change is my assessment that it created an unnecessary disruption for her classmates and was inappropriate for her under age photographer. I also do not believe that police showing up at The Davis Enterprise
    where employees are all adults( except the paper carriers) and presumably better versed in police matters is at all analogous to the police showing up at a high school. I cannot imagine that with the resources available to them the police could not have thought of a less ostentatious means to conduct their investigationWith regard to your question would I feel differently if the police believed she knew the identity of previously unidentified dope dealers or murderers, my answer is absolutely yes! In that case I would say that the police were probably criminally negligent in their failure to protect her identity as their informant thus likely placing her in mortal danger. If you find my answer silly, please go back and look at the disparity in the two scenarios ( immature attention seeking taggers on the one hand, dope dealers and murderers on the other?) Really ?

  24. Superfluous Man

    AS,

    “there are certainly journalistic efforts that are worthy of protecting and being proud of.”

    Clearly, you are willing to make exceptions to the protection of sources re: journalism in this case. That’s your opinion. As I mentioned before, she may aspire to be a journalist and divulging one’s sources at the pressure of authorities isn’t looked upon with much honor in that profession.

    “Writing an article which glorifies criminal behavior and protects those that broke the law, doesn’t qualify in my set of ethics.”

    Please explain to me in which ways her piece “glorifies” the actions of these taggers? I read her article and found, if anything, these taggers came across poorly…in their own words. In general, I don’t find that her article in anyway glorified graffiti and if it did who cares? So what if it upsets YOUR “set of ethics.” It’s her life and her work.

    “I would be proud of my child’s willingness to stand up for herself, but there is a price to pay for that – it isn’t free – and this student’s attempt to hide behind in loco parentis just isn’t right.”

    What do you mean, “it’s not free?”

    “She…used an adult civil liberty,”

    What’s an “adult” civil liberty?

    “she can’t suddenly call on in loco parentis to avoid facing the full impact of the police in their attempt to locate criminals.”

    She cannot? Why? Is it her responsibility to “call on” in loco parentis or the school district’s policy, by law, to stand in loco parentis? When an 18-year-old student is in the school’s custody in loco parentis no longer applies?

    “Let me try this question- would you guys feel differently had she written an article in the school newspaper in which it becomes clear that she knows the identity of of previously unidentified dope dealers or murderers?”

    That is not what happened here, so what’s the purpose of extremely altering the facts? Regardless, in her capacity as a student journalist she has an obligation to her sources. It is not her role to assist law enforcement in their investigation, but rather to gather information/facts for her balanced story and present it to her peers/the public, which is what she did.

    The officer in her piece told her DPD uses undercover tactics to go after taggers, which I’m sure they will continue to use to track these guys down. Maybe her piece even gave DPD information that is helpful to their investigation.

  25. David M. Greenwald

    “The two situations are entirely different, and the nuanced difference is important to understand. In the Elk Grove case, the suspect was under arrest, so was informed of his rights bc it was required by law. In the Davis schools case, the student was not under arrest, but being questioned. Law enforcement had every legal right to question her, and so did the school under its loosey-goosey and very questionable policy. “

    You are completely wrong. The instructions were given to the police officer being questioned, the police officer was not under arrest which is why the instruction read that he was free to go and not being detained. I sent this to the district and they are going to consider adding this language to instructions for students.

  26. David M. Greenwald

    “I feel safe knowing that Chief Black and Officer Ellsworth are genuine professionals. “

    Then you are free to allow your kids to be interrogated by them outside of your presence or the presence of a lawyer. I have met both and I like both, but they are police officers and we need to remember that anything we say can and will be used against us…

  27. David M. Greenwald

    “To Medwoman, this is a mountain is being made out of a molehill because we’ve only heard one side of the story. “

    So we should ignore it, because we can never hear the other side of the story, that’s your suggestion?

  28. David M. Greenwald

    “David, I would rethink your decision about the officer. He is a really good officer, otherwise we would have heard more than one negative report about his actions. “

    Or kids are too scared to come forward? He only started as SRO in February I think, so we are not talking a huge length of time.

    This wasn’t about him. It was actually something Landy Black told me, “we don’t stop being police officers just because there are students and school issues at play.”

    That’s fine, but then we don’t stop being citizens when our kids are in school. I don’t talk to police without a lawyer because I have seen what happens to people who do, even people who have not done a thing wrong. Unfortunately we need to teach our kids the same thing. Police are not our friends, that’s opposite of what I was taught growing up, police are people who are looking for an excuse to arrest us. They can lie and they can threaten to achieve those ends. I don’t believe most police are bad, but you don’t know what you are dealing with until you are there.

  29. David M. Greenwald

    “Again my beef wasvwith David who went ahead with limited info and I fear biased his impressionable nephew about the police”

    Not in the least. I told him most police are good people, but you always have to be careful with anyone you meet. If they need to talk to you, then tell them to call me and we can talk.

  30. David M. Greenwald

    “Is it just me, but is this story the fist time we read that the pupil had reached the age of majority?”

    In the interview with the student published on Monday: “She said that she wants the public to understand that she was an adult at the time that this happened, she was taking AP Government and studying journalism.”

    “Ergo, no need for parent notifiction.”

    It makes no difference according ot the law.

    “Ah, nothing like better-late-than-never-full disclosure in journalism….”

    Nothing like poor reading comprehension by the readers – sorry for the cheap shot, but you took one at me.

  31. David M. Greenwald

    “Interesting… do techichick (VERY interesting ‘handle’) and medwoman support the ‘first amendment right’ that graffiti is ‘free speech’? “

    Hpierce: To me this isn’t about the issue of graffiti, rather it is an issue of police and school procedures for the questioning of students.

  32. David M. Greenwald

    “David, the more I think about this situation as I know, I think you are just wrong about your conclusion here. It apparently turns out that her civil and constitutional rights were not violated, and you are teaching children, based on this action, not to trust the police.”

    We’ll have to agree to disagree then. To me pulling a student out of class, and questioning her hard outside of the presence of parents or a lawyer, and threatening her, probably infactually with consequences and arrest is wrong whether it technically violates the law or not. Regardless, I have a responsibility to a kid to make sure they do not inadvertently put themselves in harms way. A lot of wrongful convictions start with questioning from police outside of the presence of attorneys. Sorry if this offends you, but it appears to be the world we live in.

  33. highbeam

    AdRemmer: David reported Ms. de Hinojosa’s point about being an adult in the Monday article, the first one after interviewing her. I do not know why she wanted that point to be known, if it did not affect her rights as a student.

  34. David M. Greenwald

    She said it in the context that she wanted the public to understand she was not a dumb child but even being an adult and educated, she still was intimidated by the process that was used here.

  35. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]No one here is defending the actions of these particular taggers who are clearly not artists but merely kids seeking attention as made clear in Ms. deHinojosa’s article. [/quote]

    Ms. deHinojosa’s article stated something about the jury still being out on whether tagging was art or vandalism, which was a completely misleading statement…

  36. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]erm “The two situations are entirely different, and the nuanced difference is important to understand. In the Elk Grove case, the suspect was under arrest, so was informed of his rights bc it was required by law. In the Davis schools case, the student was not under arrest, but being questioned. Law enforcement had every legal right to question her, and so did the school under its loosey-goosey and very questionable policy. ”

    dmg: You are completely wrong. The instructions were given to the police officer being questioned, the police officer was not under arrest which is why the instruction read that he was free to go and not being detained. I sent this to the district and they are going to consider adding this language to instructions for students.[/quote]

    I am totally at sea what you meant…

  37. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: that has nothing to do with this controversy. The question is whether the police and school staff reacted appropriately to the scenario (and the lack of urgent nature of it).

  38. Adam Smith

    [i]We’ll have to agree to disagree then. To me pulling a student out of class, and questioning her hard outside of the presence of parents or a lawyer, and threatening her, probably infactually with consequences and arrest is wrong whether it technically violates the law or not. Regardless, I have a responsibility to a kid to make sure they do not inadvertently put themselves in harms way. A lot of wrongful convictions start with questioning from police outside of the presence of attorneys. Sorry if this offends you, but it appears to be the world we live in. [/i]

    I completely agree that kids should know and understand their rights, especially when they choose to undertake an endeavor such as this. If your child has potentially broken the law or is a witness to a crime, then the police are doing their job to interrogate someone, and in those cases, kids should know and be aware of their rights. But in general, the general population should not be in fear of the police, and nothing that happened here should cause that basic trust to be endangered.

    I have said that I think this could have been done differently, since the discovery of her information wasn’t time sensitive. But as an adult journalist, she used the school newspaper as a vehicle to question whether a crime is really art. In so doing, she became aware of the identities of criminals, and she is choosing to use the journalistic shield. Police, DAs and judges routinely attempt to get these witnesses to share the information so that crime can be thwarted.

  39. medwoman

    Well if this is the manner in which the police “routinely”choose to conduct their questioning, then I think it is time for them to reassess their routine to see if it is getting them the information they want while strengthening their bonds with students and the community as a whole, In medicine we are constantly reassessing our “routine” way of doing things in hope of improving. As I said on an earlier post, I think this is a learning opportunity all around, for the students, the school officials ( who I sincerely hope will implement the ACLU suggestions ) and the police, who can use this as an opportunity to improve upon their information gathering techniques.

    On a slightly different point, Elaine has stated previously that it is legal for police officers to lie while questioning in order to obtain information.
    I don’t know if that would apply in this situation, but if so, the very knowledge that you could “routinely” be lied to by the police is enough to instill a basic distrust in me. Is this what we should routinely be informing our children ? And if so, where is the trust ?

  40. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Elaine: that has nothing to do with this controversy. The question is whether the police and school staff reacted appropriately to the scenario (and the lack of urgent nature of it).[/quote]

    YOU made the comparison – I just tried to explain why the two situations are dissimilar. 🙂

  41. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]On a slightly different point, Elaine has stated previously that it is legal for police officers to lie while questioning in order to obtain information. I don’t know if that would apply in this situation, but if so, the very knowledge that you could “routinely” be lied to by the police is enough to instill a basic distrust in me. Is this what we should routinely be informing our children ? And if so, where is the trust ?[/quote]

    It is extremely important that citizens understand that the police can lie to obtain incriminating statements during questioning. One favorite tactic of police is to insist they have evidence of criminal activity when they don’t. This happened to a client of mine. My client assumed s/he was guilty of something, since the police said they “had evidence”. Yet my client had done absolutely nothing wrong. I know this for a fact, bc of the circumstances of the case. It was a situation involving alleged embezzlement, and specifically who had signed off on the gathering of submitted checks. My client had done everything by the book, whereas the guilty party had not. Yet had I not intervened on my client’s behalf, s/he would probably be sitting in jail right now. My client was never charged.

  42. Avatar

    Has anybody on this blog received the personal visits by a police officer to talk to their child just because , as David has done with the City of Davis police ? Seems like some very special treatment for your normal davisite , or could it be that he has some goods on Chief Landy Black !

  43. Superfluous Man

    Fixed, “But as [b]a[/b] [s]adult[/s] [b]student[/b] journalist, she used the school newspaper as a vehicle to question whether a crime is really art.”

    “Police, DAs and judges routinely attempt to get these witnesses to share the information so that crime can be thwarted.”

    Routinely do as they did with Ms de Hinojosa…to other student journalists? If so, can you provide us with specific examples.

  44. Superfluous Man

    ERM, “Ms. deHinojosa’s article stated something about the jury still being out on whether tagging was art or vandalism, which was a completely misleading statement…”

    The “vandalism or art” question posed in her piece begs the question…can’t it be both? The answer of which is, subjectively…sure it can. What don’t you get about this? There are examples of graffiti deemed art by community members and societies (see orig. message board on subject).

  45. medwoman

    Avatar

    To answer your question seriously, I would like to share a positive experience I had with the police and a particular school official.
    A number of years ago, my son was under treatment for depression, and after a very rocky transition to DHS, it was suggested that he transfer in his junior year to DaVinci. The on site police representative and Matt Best, then DaVinci principle, made not one but several appearances at my house to talk with, and encourage my son to go back to school since truancy was part of his problem. I won’t sugar coat this and pretend that the situation was perfect for my son at DaVinci. We had a very rocky two years, but my son is now doing well, setting goals, and starting his second year of college. I find this to be the exemplary leadership standard that I expect from school based police and school officials. The role models that they provided along with the high school counselors and DaVinci “village” gave my son, who was clearly sinking, the support he needed to preserver. I would love to say that I feel that the young journalists and other students at the school were treated with this degree of commitment and respect. I cannot. I feel that this is the model that our police and school officials should be constantly working towards.But it seems to me that they fell a bit short in this case.

  46. Adam Smith

    [i]Routinely do as they did with Ms de Hinojosa…to other student journalists? If so, can you provide us with specific examples. [/i]

    She’s 18 – an adult, practicing journalism as protected by the US constitution. She also happens to be a student, but she’s 18 and an adult. The police get to treat her as such, if they determine that is the right course of action. Personally, I don’t think they chose the best way to question her, but as far as I can tell, they didn’t break any law.

  47. Superfluous Man

    AS,

    So you do not have specific examples to substantiate your suggestion that what happened following de Hinojosa’s published article was in some way a “routine” police/school admin practice? From what I can tell, this is not a routine occurrence.

    “She’s 18 – an adult, practicing journalism as protected by the US constitution.”

    Yes, she is a “student journalist” not practicing “adult journalism,” as you would put it. There is a distinction between the two. I believe student journalists are entitled lower levels of First Amendment protection from that of their “adult journalism” counterparts. However, the state of CA and I believe six other states have laws which guarantee that students can publish freely with few exceptions.

    “She also happens to be a student, but she’s 18 and an adult. The police get to treat her as such, if they determine that is the right course of action.”

    So the school is or is not required to stand in loco parentis when the adult-aged HS student is in their custody? Isn’t that what matters re: your comment that the student “called on” loco parentis vs school required to do so? And yes, she has rights. She doesn’t have to answer the officers questions, etc..

  48. Adam Smith

    SM

    The dominant argument and fact in this discussion is her adulthood. No one has custody over this individual once they turn 18 – not schools,not parents, not aunts or uncles. An 18 year can withhold grades from parents, enroll in the military and die fighting for her country, vote, get married, have an abortion – all without parental consent. Why would this person be granted “in loco parentis” if she happens to be at school when the police seek to question her?

    I’ve said the police could have handled this in a less obtrusive manner, but based on the one sided “fact” that we know, they acted within the law, regardless of whether they lied to her or sought to intimidate her.

    I agree she has rights. She doesn’t have to answer questions if she doesn’t want to. She could have asked if the police were arresting her, and if not, told them she was leaving the room. She can ask for legal counsel. But the police can pursue her as if she is an adult, which she is and believes.

  49. Superfluous Man

    AS,

    So once a student turns 18, they are not considered in custody of that school while in attendance? The school is no longer required to act as the student’s “advocate” (although maybe not legally standing in loco parentis?) at that point? Is that the law/policy? I was under the assumption that students, even 18-year-olds, received some form of advocacy/in loco parentis.

    “No one has custody over this individual once they turn 18 – not schools,not parents, not aunts or uncles. An 18 year can withhold grades from parents, enroll in the military and die fighting for her country, vote, get married, have an abortion – all without parental consent.”

    But the school still can place limitations as to what students, even those old enough to die fighting for this country, can do and say while at school or at a school supervised event…their “adult ages” and the accompanied freedoms to do whatever don’t superceded the schools’ objectives in all cases.

    “Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007) was a school speech case in which the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment does not prevent educators from suppressing student [18 yrs old] speech, at a school-supervised event, that is reasonably viewed as promoting illegal drug use.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morse_v._Frederick

  50. Adam Smith

    [i]But the school still can place limitations as to what students, even those old enough to die fighting for this country, can do and say while at school or at a school supervised event…their “adult ages” and the accompanied freedoms to do whatever don’t superceded the schools’ objectives in all cases.
    [/i]

    Yes, well, the laws of the country also prevent adults from harming others. The school was given the right to limit an individuals free speech, so as to protect the school and other students, not to protect the student whose speech was being suppressed. In our case, the situation is different – you are suggesting that in loco parentis can be invoked by an adult student to protect herself from legal questioning by the police, when she would otherwise be afforded no parental protection once she steps off the school grounds.

  51. Superfluous Man

    re: the above mentioned case, Justice Thomas’ concuring opinion: “Through the legal doctrine of in loco parentis, courts upheld the right of schools to discipline students, to enforce rules, and to maintain order.3 “

    Justice Thomas’ footnote: “3My discussion is limited to elementary and secondary education. In these settings, courts have applied the doctrine of in loco parentis regardless of the student’s age.”

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/06pdf/06-278.pdf

    This would seem to support my claim.

  52. Superfluous Man

    AS,

    “you are suggesting that in loco parentis can be invoked by an adult student to protect herself from legal questioning by the police,”

    Not exactly. I was primarily questioning your assertion that it no longer applies in instances involving students who are 18. Thomas’ opinion rejects this notion. That said, I do not know the specific law/precedent re: in loco parentis and police investigations/questioning.

  53. Adam Smith

    SM –

    This will be my last post on this matter. Perhaps we will have to agree to disagree.

    I think you are choosing a very slippery slope if you want to use Judge Thomas to defend your position. IMO, there is little doubt that he would rule “against” your position, should he be given the opportunity. The footnote that you mention was in respect to a case in which a school was disciplining a 21 year old for disruptive behavior, in order to maintain order and safety at the school. The judgement on the case in point was that the school had the right to do that, even though it might have violated constitutional rights in other settings.

    I’m glad you that directed my to the case law. I learned a lot. My takeaway is that generally, in loco parentis was derived in order to give schools the ability to set rules and govern activities and speech of its students, in order maintain stability and safety for all of its students. Certainly, students have rights, but they are generally LESS than what is afforded to the population at large, when not at school. I think it is a very difficult case for you and others to make that the school has some duty or ability to intervene on an adult’s behalf with the police. In loco parentis, by definition, has to do with excercising parental authority. Parents have no “authority” over their children when they become 18 – why would the school have any more ability to protect the adult than the parents would?

    Thanks for the discussion.

  54. Superfluous Man

    AS,

    “I think you are choosing a very slippery slope if you want to use Judge Thomas to defend your position. IMO, there is little doubt that he would rule “against” your position, should he be given the opportunity.”

    It was the majority opinion in what was a precedent setting case on student rights and one of which analyzed in loco parentis thoroughly. To be clear, my position is, in light of your stance, that in loco parentis applies to students regardless of age (per case law). Now, I don’t know in what way in loco parentis applies in situations that involve police questioning, but you suggested that it applies, but not to students who are 18. My position is that I am inclined to believe that in loco parentis would still apply. If you can offer citation or documentation to support your stance, I could be swayed.

    “The footnote that you mention was in respect to a case in which a school was disciplining a 21 year old for disruptive behavior, in order to maintain order and safety at the school.”
    He was an 18 yr old student of the HS, he was 21 at the time the case was heard by the US Supreme Court.

    “My takeaway is that generally, in loco parentis was derived in order to give schools the ability to set rules and govern activities and speech of its students, in order maintain stability and safety for all of its students”

    I agree, but I have not read anything stating in loco parentis continues to apply in all areas (per case law) re: school’s ed objectives/student rights once the student turns 18 with the exception of police questioning/interrogations. I’m not saying you are wrong, but you would need to offer me something other than your reasoning.

    “Thanks for the discussion”

    Thank you.

  55. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]The “vandalism or art” question posed in her piece begs the question…can’t it be both? The answer of which is, subjectively…sure it can. What don’t you get about this? There are examples of graffiti deemed art by community members and societies (see orig. message board on subject). [/quote]

    Graffiti is deemed vandalism period, and is a crime. To call it “art”, puts an approval stamp on it, which is not warranted; is misleading, and glorifies the crime. You can argue all you want about “subjectively” it can be called art, but criminally it can’t. And this is the point youngsters should be taking away, but will not necessarily from this article.

  56. Superfluous Man

    why can’t it be both. Graffiti has ben used in various projects and in one England city, citzens actually vote as to whether it is graffit or art (ie is it to be removed or shall it stay?) it CAN be a crime and still deemed art, you don’t dictate the perception of others re: what is art. What she posed begs the question, can it be both? Yes it can! You disagree, okay then.

    Her piece clearly covers the illegal nature of this activity and how easily it can reach felony status. The story is ballanved IMO. Sje doesn’t have an obligation to write a piece that only incourages othersto follow the lasw and don’t do this or that. How do you know what they’ll take away?

    thank goodness for the laws that permit students to write such ‘provocative’ pieces.

  57. Superfluous Man

    so anything criminal cannot be deemed art, every time and by everyone according to you ? I see. That make no sense because one does not effect the other. So if the graffiti were not illegal than it is art or could be deemed as such?

  58. medwoman

    ERM

    Many things are defined by context as well as the names we choose to call them. For example, let’s suppose that I happen to find some decoration that is done on upright, outdoor structures with spray paint attractive. I commission an artist of this type to decorate my fence, which
    happens to face towards the street, with this type of decoration. So far no problem, right. But unfortunately, I wasn’t clear enough in my specification, and the artist thought the adjacent, identical fence which is on my neighbors property was to be painted in the same style.
    Oops!Now maybe my neighbor happens to love this “form of art” as much as I do, and he’s delighted because I have inadvertently provided him with a free and delightful fence painting. But maybe he doesn’t. He considers it a garish, probably gang associated act of vandalism and I am out for both the decoration and restoring his fence to it’s original bland state. Same piece of work, vastly different interpretations.
    Who is right ? I honestly don’t think posing the question, and then presenting both sides is all that “misleading”. And even if it were misleading, by the time students are in high school these are exactly the kinds of thorny issues that I want them to be taking on.

  59. medwoman

    Another thorny art related issue. MOMA has long displayed a number of worked of art which had been confiscated and redistributed more to their liking by the Nazis. The MOMA claims that the lineage of these works have all been appropriately investigated and all are being exhibited legally. Families of some of the artists and patrons say that the works were acquired illegally from their rightful owners and that not only is the MOMA holding them illegally as known stolen property but that is continuing to profit from their illegal exhibition. So art work, or illegally obtained asset, or both ? Depends on your perspective. An item can definitely be more than one thing at the same time.

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