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Iowa: school officials strip-search five teen girls

By pams
Tuesday, September 8, 2009 1:21 EDT
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And why does the school board reserve the right to do this — no parental consent required?

Family members said this week that Atlantic high school officials forced five teenage girls to remove their clothes during an investigation into a theft.

The girls' families and their lawyers said the incident at Atlantic High School amounts to a strip-search, which is illegal in Iowa schools.

But school officials said the search was "allowable" under board rules.

The search took place during a gym class after a classmate charged that $100 was stolen from her purse. And it wasn't just stripped down to underwear — one girl was stripped naked. 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. And after the indignities heaped on these girls — the money was not found.

What do you think occurred as a result of this egregious behavior on the part of school officials?

Atlantic Interim Superintendent Dan Crozier has confirmed that an Atlantic administrator had been placed on administrative leave, but did not name the individual. Unconfirmed reports have identified Activities Director Paul Croghan as the individual placed on paid administrative leave, pending further investigation into the incident.

And look at this:

Crozier said the faculty denied the searches were strip-searches, but he added that there are different interpretations of what the term means. "According to the people that we've talked to the first time, and I've talked to them maybe once or twice, they've said it would not fall into that category," he said. "I'm real careful about saying that because it could be interpreted differently."

OK, here are additional details. You decide:

Each girl stripped in varying degrees, families and the lawyers said.

Hudson's client, who is 15, "was asked to remove all of her clothing including her undergarments," he said.

One mother said the girl refused to take off her underwear in front of everyone, but went around a corner and did so.

Some of the girls didn't take off their underwear because it was more revealing than the other girls', making it more obvious that nothing was hidden underneath, said Noethe, one of the lawyers.

Hudson said, "Someone asked if they could just lift up their bra and they were told that wasn't good enough."

One of Noethe's clients was searched twice, he said.

"She was told to take her clothes off and put them back on, then told to do it again because we need you to take your bra off," Noethe said.

Is there some other meaning for "strip-search" that I'm unaware of?

 
 
 
 
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