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Girls at Middle School Subjected to Illegal Strip Search

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Girls at Middle School Subjected to Illegal Strip Search

The parents of four 12-year-old girls who say they were strip searched at East Middle School have filed a federal lawsuit against Binghamton City School District.

The incident occurred on Jan. 15 when East Middle School Principal Tim Simonds allegedly stopped the girls in the hallway during their lunch hour. He told the girls that he was looking for them and escorted them to the school’s health office.

The incident occurred on Jan. 15 when East Middle School Principal Tim Simonds allegedly stopped the girls in the hallway during their lunch hour. He told the girls that he was looking for them and escorted them to the school’s health office.

“Neither Principal Simonds nor Assistant Principal Michelle Raleigh, both of whom arewhite, explained to the girls why they were taken to the health office,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit claims the school nurse conducted “intrusive and demeaning searches” in the health office. The girls had to take off some articles of clothing and were allegedly subjected to humiliating comments. One of the girls received a sobriety test to see if she was under the influence of a substance.

The lawsuit adds that the school never contacted the girls’ parents before conducting the strip search. However, Simonds told the parents later that he sent the girls to the health office because he thought they were acting hyper and giddy.

“The laughter and giddiness of adolescent children are not objective facts giving rise to a reasonable suspicion justifying an intrusive search by school officials,” the lawsuit explains.

There has been public outrage since the incident and the Binghamton City School District said that school officials didn’t conduct a stirp search. They said misinformation spread on social media and and that medical evaluations that are conducted may require a person to take off “bulky outside clothing to expose an arm so that vitals like blood pressure and pulse can be accessed.”

The lawsuit says the girls were put in an alternative school because they felt “embarrassed, humiliated and targeted for unwanted attention.”

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and for the school district to enact policies to ensure an alleged incident like this doesn’t occur in the future.

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