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Outcry Over Interrogation of Students

May 17, 2003

Re "Secret Service Interrogation of 2 Students Sparks Furor," May 13: "Anytime the issue of a threat to the president of the United States comes up, the Secret Service has to look into it." So says John Gill, a special agent with the Secret Service in Washington. But does he include intimidation and lying to high school sophomores as part of "looking into it"? Count the constitutional violations here. I wonder how seriously he would look into it if his children had been treated that way and then told, "You don't have any ... rights, we own you," along with the use of profanity, while preventing them from having an attorney present.

And to have the school principal sitting in on this legal and educational travesty! Is this what our schools are for? This sounds more like the stories we were told about the Evil Empire. How often a chance to teach children is cast aside in a rush of testosterone. Why not encourage our schools to instill in the students the basics of America's core values and investigate using the rules set out by the U.S. Constitution?

Richard A. Hein



Two Oakland high school students allegedly threaten to kill the president of the United States and are reported by their teacher to the Secret Service, which interrogates them. The Oakland school board is outraged and the teachers union issues a statement calling the interrogation a "blatant infringement of students' free speech and academic freedom." Excuse me -- free speech and academic freedom allow one to threaten the life of our president? With this type of thinking, no wonder we have so much violence in our schools. It appears that maybe the Secret Service interrogated the wrong parties.

Tom Lorden


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