image Last fall three female students at Atlantic High School in Atlantic, Iowa were forced to strip after $100 was stolen from an unattended purse in a locker room during a gym class.

It was illegal, and as I wrote in September when this story came out an abuse of power.

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.

Also, how do they know it wasn’t somebody not in the class?  I don’t know how their locker rooms are set up, but the locker rooms in my alma mater had two entrances so it would be easy to slip in and out unnoticed.

A follow-up to this story Jennifer Jacobs of The Des Moines Register reports this morning that three students (Holleigh Jo Jacobsen and her father, Matthew Jacobsen; Griffin Ferguson and her mother, Lisa Ferguson; and Paige Brianna Lank and her mother, Lee Lank) are suing with the school district, Paul Croghan, who was the high school’s assistant principal at the time, and Heather Turpin, a school counselor listed as the defendants.

Good.  I’m not a fan of the lawsuit happy culture we have, but in this case since the school district failed to act (fire the teachers/staff involved) so something needs to be done.  Like I said before, an abuse of power can’t be tolerated.  It’s a shame that the school district couldn’t do the right thing.

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