Just your average day at elementary school. Ten-year-old is accused of stealing $20 from a classmate. He says he didn’t do it. Teacher doesn’t believe him and sends him to the assistant principal. Crazy assistant principal strip searches him.
Assistant principal Teresa Holmes, led accused 10-year-old into the bathroom and ordered him to strip down to his boxers and undershirt. There was also a male janitor present. Once he stripped down, she ran her fingers along the inside of the waistband of his boxers. She also lifted his undershirt and searched his bare torso. When she found nothing, she gave him a hug and told him he was free to go. The $20 bill was later found on the floor in the cafeteria.
When the boy’s mother, Clarinda Cox, returned home that day, she found her son waiting outside for her, which she described as “unusual.” He quickly reported, “she made me take my clothes off,” a Fox News report says.
“School officials often don’t know the law,” Whitehead told FoxNews.com. “The average school teacher or principal has a huge question mark when it comes to this. And there’s sort of this mentality that all kids are dangerous today, that they need to be watched carefully. What you’re talking about here was a $20 bill, not a gun or a knife.”
The unreasonable search and seizure has “traumatized” the boy, Whitehead said.
The parents are suing the school district, “alleging a violation of the boy’s constitutional protection from unreasonable searches and seizures.” I don’t usually jump on the litigation bandwagon, but in this case I am totally behind them. What right does a school official have to strip search a student? Kids are citizens too, right? I totally agree that this is a violation of the boy’s constitutional protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
If this case helps continue a precedent that protects our children from being treated like criminals in their own schools, I happily support it. Fox News cites a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court case —Safford Unified School District v. Redding — “which held that school officials did not have the authority to strip-search 13-year-old Savana Redding without evidence that the contraband allegedly in the honor student’s possession posed a danger.” School officials violated this precedent, and should be held accountable.
Also, strip searching 10-year-olds? Just, no.