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Shaw University President Paulette Dillard is speaking out after several students were wrongfully stopped and searched during a school trip to Atlanta.

As WRAL reports, the group of 18 was en route to a conference in Atlanta on October 5. Passing through Spartanburg County, SC, police stopped the charter bus for what Dillard called “a minor traffic violation.” The situation quickly escalated to a “stop and search” operation with the use of drug-sniffing dogs. The driver of the bus was ultimately cited for improper lane use.

Dillard has issued a statement, saying that the group was targeted, through the use of the dogs, because of racial bias. Here’s a portion of her statement:

“Traveling by contract bus, South Carolina Law Enforcement stopped the team in Spartanburg County under the pretext of a minor traffic violation. A couple of officers boarded the bus and asked the driver where he was headed. Multiple sheriff deputies and drug-sniffing dogs searched the suitcases of the students and staff located in the luggage racks beneath the bus.
In a word, I am “outraged.” This behavior of targeting Black students is unacceptable and will not be ignored nor tolerated. Had the students been White, I doubt this detention and search would have occurred.
It’s 2022.
However, this scene is reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s—armed police, interrogating innocent Black students, conducting searches without probable cause, and blood-thirsty dogs. It’s hard to imagine. Yet, it happened to the Shaw University community, and it is happening throughout this nation in alarming fashion. It must be stopped.
To be clear, nothing illegal was discovered in this search by South Carolina Law Enforcement officers. The officers said they stopped the bus because it was swerving and issued the driver a warning ticket for “improper lane use.” Throughout this unnerving and potentially dangerous situation, our students and staff conducted themselves calmly and with tremendous restraint.
I will modernize the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with my own, “The ultimate measure of a man and woman is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy.”
Our students stood tall amid an unnerving and humiliating experience and because of their dignified and professional response, the situation did not escalate into something far more sinister.”
WRAL reached out to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, which said that 67 improper lane use citations were issued during a law enforcement crackdown. Students affected by the incident are expected to come forward later this week.


Shaw University Students Racially Profiled During School Trip  was originally published on