School officials in Atlantic forced five teenage girls to take off their clothing for a search after a classmate reported $100 missing from her purse, according to the girls’ families and two lawyers.
The classmate and a female counselor stood watch in the girls’ locker room at Atlantic High School as the five girls removed their clothing, lifted up their underwear, and in one case took off all her clothing, according to lawyers Ed Noethe of Council Bluffs and Matt Hudson of Harlan.
Strip-searching is illegal in Iowa schools
Dan Crozier, the interim superintendent of the Atlantic school district, said the search took place Aug. 21, the third day of school, during a gym class in the last period of the day.
Crozier said faculty members denied it was a strip-search. "According to our board policy, it was an allowable search," he said.
The U.S Supreme Court makes it clear that school officials don’t have free reign to perform these type of searches.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that no school official has free rein to do intimate searches of students. Making a girl pull the waistband of her underwear away from her body constituted a strip-search, the court ruled.
What troubles me is how the district is circling the wagon on this. This is clearly illegal. It is a violation of privacy. It wasn’t even in the context of a safety issue (searching for a weapon, etc.). But to look for $100? School officials need to remember they are not law enforcement officials and have limited authority. Even law enforcement officials are careful when they implement searches like these. I believe that kids need to respect authority, even authority within the school, but this is an abuse. Kids are powerless in situations like this, and I can’t help but feel these kids were exploited. All because a kid said she was missing $100, how do we know if she’s telling the truth?
The Atlantic School district officials who initiated this, and those in the district who try to justify this need to be fired. Abuse of power simply can’t be tolerated.
HT: Dave Price
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