Students sue CA school employee after her unauthorized drug sting goes horribly wrong
Two central California high school students have sued their school district after their campus safety monitor’s illegal undercover drug sting went horribly wrong, reported the Fresno Bee.
According to the suit, Kelly Racca set out to stop the illegal sale of marijuana in March 2013 at Clovis North High School and gave a female student, “Mary,” some money to buy the drug on campus.
Racca recorded the serial numbers on the bills to link them to the drug seller and asked Mary to find out which student was selling pot on campus.
But Mary did not want to get involved, according to the suit, so she told her friend, “John,” about the school employee’s plan.
John agreed to participate in Racca’s plan if she would help him get an expelled student reinstated to the school, the suit claims, and she agreed.
Mary photographed John buying marijuana from another student on campus with the money Racca had given him, the suit claims, and the teens handed over the pot and photograph to the campus safety officer.
Both students said they were called in the following day for questioning by school officials and police without their parents or an attorney present.
Mary claims she was ordered by police to write an account of the drug buy and then waited for hours without being told what would happen to her before she was finally allowed to leave without being arrested.
John says he was advised of his Miranda rights, but his request to call his father was repeatedly denied as he was questioned at length. Police eventually allowed him to leave without being arrested.
Days later, the suit claims, Mary was called into the office of Student Services counselor Wesley Flowers, where Racca begged her to retract written statements she’d made accusing the campus safety monitor of setting up the sting operation.
Racca also asked the girl to “essentially lie” about her role in the operation to shield her from consequences from her employers, the suit claims.
“It’s outrageous what this (employee) wanted them to do,” said attorney Stephen Cornwell, who is representing the teens.
The students are seeing unspecified monetary damages in their suit, which alleges negligent supervision, false arrest, humiliation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Cornwell said Racca failed to tell the teens her plan was illegal and violated the school’s zero-tolerance drug policy, and the pair assumed she was authorized to conduct the operation she proposed.
Racca also failed to notify police of her plan and lacked the authority and law enforcement background to conduct a drug investigation, the attorney said.
The teens, who remain students at Clovis North, also fear for their safety because other students suspect they are snitches, Cornwell said.
“Racca failed to consider that coercing students to buy controlled substances from another student would potentially expose Mary and John as witnesses … and subject them to ridicule and harassment by other students and potential physical harm by drug-related gang actions,” the lawsuit says.
A school district spokeswoman said she could not comment on the suit because officials had not yet been served.
She said the 36-year-old Racca, who is listed in the lawsuit as a school counselor, was no longer working as a campus monitor at Clovis North but instead worked part-time in a substitute capacity for the school district.
[Image: Dealer sells drug bag, isolated on black via Shutterstock]