Last Thursday, a school district in Binghamton, New York was accused of subjecting four 12-year old girls to strip searches; the allegations have united community members to call for the resignation of school employees involved in the strip search.

The rallied community members called for the resignation of the school nurse and assistant principal at a school board meeting. The group stated that the girls, who are African-American, were interrogated and “strip-searched” by faculty at Binghamton’s East Middle School on January 15. The faculty suspected drug use and drug possession because the students seemed hyper and giddy during their lunch. The community members and parents of the students stressed that the group of girls no longer feel safe at school and are traumatized by their experience. The group also issued demands for the school district, including to stop strip searches and to issue public apology to the students and community.

Binghamton County School District’s apologized for the “impact” the incident had on students, but defended their actions in a statement claiming, “A student may, under current law and policy, be searched in a school building by an administrator […]. These searches involve an administrator requesting a student to empty their pockets, remove their shoes and/or remove their jackets.” However, The Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow, a group representing the student’s parents refute the district’s claims by stating that student A was searched in their bra and underwear, student B was searched in their leggings and bra, student C was searched in their bra and underwear, and student D received an in-school suspension for refusing to remove their shirt and pants. The students consented to sobriety tests and observations; however the parents did not consent to these searches, nor were they informed.

Media Resources: Washington Post 1/24/19; Huffington Post 1/26/19

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