So I’m sitting here, innocently enjoying my morning Chai Latte (mmmm…. Oregon Chai…..sorry, A.D.D.), and I hear a story on the news about a school in Atlantic, Iowa, up in arms about a strip search that had been performed on five girls, over $100 that a student reported missing. (print story here)
My first reaction was, “what the heck? STRIP SEARCH???” My second reaction, on the heels of the first was, “what kid carries $100 around in her pocket?”
I had to investigate further.
In 1986, Iowa passed a law that it is illegal to perform a strip search on a student, “strip search” to include “pulling the waistband of undergarments from the body.” It staggers me that such a law is even needed, but there you go. It exists.
Fast-forward to 2009, and this school finds it necessary to detain five girls in a locker room, demanding that they remove all of their clothing, down to their underwear. In one case, a girl was asked to remove her underwear – strip naked – and in another case, a girl re-dressed, only to be asked to undress again, this time, removing her bra. At present, the missing money has not been located.
I would like to see the thought process that led this teacher, faculty and school board to the conclusion that this was, in any way, acceptable. Aside from the fact that it was completely unnecessary and humiliating, it was against the law. But the school board decided, and I quote from the article, “According to our board policy, it was an allowable search.” Let me get this straight… school board policy trumps state law? I think a few lawyers might dispute that.
And, in fact, they are. Parents of three of the five students have retained representation. A fourth is considering it.
Honestly, folks. What has happened to common sense?
I hate to go all, “when I was a kid” here, but when I was a kid…. Had this happened at our school, and a student reported that he/she was missing the $100 that was in their pocket a few minutes ago? My principal, I kid you not, would have swatted that kid upside the head and said, “what the hell were you doing bringing $100 to school?” Then a note would most likely have gone home to the parents, “keep an eye on your kids, we’ve had a large sum of money go missing at the school.” And, if necessary, the police would have been called. But at the heart of it, a hard lesson would have been learned: $100 is a lot of money. Keep it close, don’t brag on it. If you lose it, it’s your own problem. If it was stolen, justice will be done.
Nobody would ever have had to get naked over it.