George McCrackin resigned Monday as principal of Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina -- the school made infamous as an example of drug war excess after police raiding the school pulled guns and sicced drug dogs on cowering students during a November 5 raid. Videotapes of the raid led to national outrage after being televised.
Local reaction was equally fierce, with parents of students involved in the raid, in which no drugs or weapons were found, filing two lawsuits against the school district, the police department, and the individuals involved, including McCrackin. Goose Creek, a normally placid Charleston suburb, also became the scene of demonstrations and protests, with local residents joined at various points by "outside agitators" Loretta Nall of the US Marijuana Party (http://www.usmjparty.org -- see interview this issue) and Dan Goldman of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (http://www.ssdp.org), and later, the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
"I realize it is in the best interest of Stratford High School and of my students for me to make a change," McCrackin said in a prepared statement released Monday by Superintendent Chester Floyd.
While McCrackin has resigned as principal, he has not left employment with the school district, Floyd said. "Mr. McCrackin has been under a tremendous amount of stress related to this," said Floyd. "I didn't want to take a dedicated, loyal employee of 20 years and put him in a role that would put increased pressure on him." While Floyd is not sure just what McCrackin's new duties will be, they will be at the school district office, not another school, he said. One duty McCrackin will have is helping the district defend itself in the two lawsuits, Floyd added.
McCrackin, who was principal at Stratford for 20 years, was the only principal the school has ever had. It was his zeal to keep his school drug-free that did him in. Based on surveillance tapes from the school's multi-camera video system, McCrackin called in the cops. And while he claims -- and the claim is not contradicted -- that he didn't know the Goose Creek Police would come in like gangbusters, that wasn't enough for many of the families affected by the raid.
McCrackin called in the cops. Now the career educator gets to conclude his career trying to save his school district from having to pay for that decision.