Middle Schooler, Strip-Searched for Weed in Front of Other Students, Suing Georgia School District

 This is appalling: a Georgia seventh grader was accused by fellow students in his middle school of having marijuana on him, when his middle school's Vice Principal forced him to strip in front of his accusers. Huffington Post:

The student, identified in court documents as D.H., said officials at Eddie White Academy initially strip-searched three other students on Feb. 8, 2011, after suspecting they had marijuana. One of them accused D.H. of having drugs, and he was brought to then-vice principal Tyrus McDowell's office.

While the three classmates watched, D.H.'s pockets and book bag were searched but didn't find anything, the lawsuit said. One of the students told school officials he had lied about D.H. having drugs, but administrators continued the search as D.H. begged to be taken to the bathroom for more privacy, according to the lawsuit.

D.H. was ordered to strip and again, no drugs were found.

D.H. says he is still traumatized by the incident, and that fellow students continue to taunt him with the nickname "Superman," which was the style of underwear he was wearing when strip-searched. The lack of judgment on the part of the vice principal is stunning: anyone with basic common sense knows that children of that age can be the cruelest, and when the student admitted to lying, they should have stopped. But to strip search him in front of fellow students? That's a violation of D.H.'s fourth amendment rights, says the lawsuit. The offending VP was placed on administrative leave and then resigned, but the damage was done:

The student's mother, Angela Dawson, said her son still hasn't recovered.

"This situation has broken the very foundation of my child's education because in order for him to learn, he has to believe that what schools are trying to teach him is right and now he questions them after they stripped him of his clothes and dignity," she said. "His trust is broken."

Read the full piece at the Huffington Post.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at February 20, 2012, 5:44am

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