The Houston school district is coming under heavy fire for its "no-tolerance" drug-dog searches of school parking lots, mostly because they nabbed a popular West U teacher who is very likely to be proven innocent.
West U residents, when they get up in arms, tend to get results. HISD superintendent Abe Saavedra told KHOU -- and spokesman Norm Uhl confirms to Hair Balls -- that the searches are ending.
Not, though, because of any uproar from well-connected parents pissed off over a very weak case. Definitely not.
"We've done enough random sweeps to show us that we do not have a widespread problem, so Dr Saavedra has decided to slow down the sweeps and phase them out in the near future," Uhl tells us.
"The fact that [the searches are] stopping is not because people are complaining," Saavedra told KHOU.
Oooookay, whatever you say.
Kent Schaffer represents Mindy Herrick, the popular arts teacher at Roberts Elementary who owns the car in which a drug dog found two Xanax.
He sounds positively gleeful as he talks of Herrick's chances for exoneration.
She passed urine and hair-sample tests for traces of the drug, he tells Hair Balls, she's passed a lie-detector test, and Schaffer says he's asked for fingerprint tests on the bag that contained the pills.
"I damn sure wouldn't have asked for that if I had any doubt her prints would be on there," he says.
He's given the DAs office 200 pages of evidence, petitions and supporting letters in an effort to get them to drop the case.
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If they don't, he says, he'll make the somewhat rare step of presenting evidence to the grand jury.
"This is a no-brainer," he says. "I could have a grand jury of police officers and they would no-bill her."
Supporters are planning a rally this afternoon at the school. Just remember -- actions like that had nothing to do with phasing out the dog searches.
-- Richard Connelly