The action, filed by Springfield City Councilman Doug Burlison, his wife Melony and his stepson and stepdaughter, both Central High School students, alleges students were told to leave their third hour classroom and ordered ot leave all their belongings in their classrooms. While they were out of the rooms, the lawsuit says, officers and drug dogs went through the belongings.
Defendants in the lawsuit, in addition to Springfield Public Schools, include Superintendent Norm Ritter, Central High School Principal Ron Snodgrass, and Greene County Sheriff James Arnott.
Following is the description of the drill from the lawsuit:
On or about Thursday April 22, 2010, C.M., (Burlison's stepson) then a freshman at Central High School, was in his third period classroom when an announcement was made over the school’s public address system by Defendant Snodgrass.
Defendant Snodgrass announced that the school was going into “lockdown” and that students may not leave their classrooms.
At that time, deputies of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office were present at Central High School along with dogs.
On information and belief, the deputies of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office were present at Central High School with the knowledge, consent and invitation of Defendants SPS, Snodgrass and Ridder, and the activities and conduct of the deputies of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office were engaged in at the request of and with the knowledge of Defendants SPS, Snodgrass and Ridder.
About fifteen minutes after Defendant Snodgrass’s announcement, deputies of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, with their dogs, entered C.M.’s classroom. The deputies ordered students and teachers to leave the room. Students were told not to take any possessions or effects, such as backpacks, notebooks and purses, with them but to leave them in the classroom.
C.M. did as instructed, leaving his possessions in the classroom and going out into the adjoining hallway to wait. C.M. could not see into the classroom.
After approximately ten minutes, the law enforcement officers left the classroom and C.M. and his classmates returned to the room.
The condition of the effects C.M. observed when he reentered the classroom made it clear to him that the students’ effects had been searched by the law enforcement officials. Backpacks and other student belongings had been moved around, zippers had been unzipped and saliva on the effects indicated that the dogs had come in contact with the students’ belongings and effects.
In particular, C.M. observed that although all the zippers on his backpack were shut when he left the room, when he returned the zippers on his backpack were open and items within the backpack had been moved. At least three other students in his third period class also pointed out that their effects, i.e., purses and backpacks, had been moved and the students observed signs indicating that police had rummaged through their belongings.
C.M. observed that the law enforcement officers and their dogs then moved on to another classroom. Plaintiffs allege, on information and belief, that the law enforcement officers engaged in the same activities in most, if not all, of the other classrooms at the school.
Defendant Snodgrass extended the time for third period that day so that the deputies of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office could complete searches of the student effects and classrooms at Central High School.
At about 11:00 a.m., Defendant Snodgrass announced to students that they should move to their fourth period class.