To ramp up its fight against high school drug abuse, police in Suffolk County, L.I., are offering students cash rewards to turn in drug dealers, along with a new way to deliver those tips – anonymous text messages, Newsday reports. Last month, police distributed posters to 58 high schools seeking participation in the Crime Stoppers program. They say the initiative gives students a way to help keep their schools safe and free of drugs.
“We know that these drugs are coming into the schools,” said Lt. Robert Donohue, commander in charge of the Crime Stoppers program. “We want to know how. We want to know who’s doing it, inside or outside of the schools.” While some schools embrace the concept, the plan is causing uneasiness among some parents, students, and school administrators. Some fear youngsters will face retribution from those turned in or that false tips might stigmatize people wrongly accused. “You shouldn’t be bribed into being a tattletale,” said a high school senior. “I think students are here to learn, not to [betray] other students.” Andrea Callan of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said, “The concern is turning our students into police agents.”