Four Black Girls, 12, Were Allegedly Strip Searched At Middle School In New York

Four 12-year-old black girls were allegedly strip searched by the nurse and an assistant principal at East Middle School in Binghamton, New York, on Jan. 15.

(Note: Girl pictured above is a stock image)

The Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow, a local advocacy group, noted on Facebook that the girls were strip searched for drugs, which were not found:

None of the parents consented. They were notified after the fact. It was not until the girls came home from school, that they were then able to tell their parents how they had been held, questioned, and searched for over an hour.

Principal Tim Simonds later stated the girls were strip searched for appearing “hyper and giddy” following their lunch hour.

The children had their clothing removed and felt shamed, humiliated, and traumatized by experience. While they were being searched the nurse made disparaging comments about the eczema of one girl and the size of another’s breasts.

The Binghamton City School District denied the allegations to BuzzFeed News:

School officials did not conduct a strip search. When conducting medical evaluation, it may require the removal of bulky outside clothing to expose an arm so that vitals like blood pressure and pulse can be assessed. This is not the same as a strip search.

Alicia Richard, an East Middle student, told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin that her best friend was searched:

How am I supposed to tell her everything is going to be OK if nothing is being taken care of?

The school district’s policy handbook actually gives educators police powers and says students may be searched “only when the school district official has reasonable suspicion to believe the student has engaged in or is engaging in proscribed activity.”

The policy handbook says strip searches are “intrusive in nature and almost never justified,” but allows the ibvasive acts: “If school officials have highly credible evidence that such a search would prevent danger or yield evidence, such a search may be conducted under exigent circumstances. Police and parents will be contacted immediately.

(Sources: Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow/Facebook, BuzzFeed News, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Photo Credit: Steven Depolo/Flickr)

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