Heads should roll in the Atlantic school district


School officials in Atlantic forced five teenage girls to take off their clothing for a search after a classmate reported $100 missing from her purse, according to the girls' families and two lawyers.

The classmate and a female counselor stood watch in the girls' locker room at Atlantic High School as the five girls removed their clothing, lifted up their underwear, and in one case took off all her clothing, according to lawyers Ed Noethe of Council Bluffs and Matt Hudson of Harlan.

Strip-searching is illegal in Iowa schools.

Dan Crozier, the interim superintendent of the Atlantic school district, said the search took place Aug. 21, the third day of school, during a gym class in the last period of the day.

Crozier said faculty members denied it was a strip-search. "According to our board policy, it was an allowable search," he said.

Two predictions:

This matter will be settled out of court if the Atlantic school district has minimally competent legal advisers.

This interim position won't lead to a permanent job for Crozier. Telling a group of girls to take off their clothes is an allowable search now? The Register quoted from the district's search policies:

"A more intrusive search, short of a strip-search, of the student's person, handbags, book bags, etc. is permissible in emergency situations when the health and safety of students, employees or visitors are threatened."

I don't think strip searches should be permitted in high schools at all, but I understand why it might happen if a student claimed to have seen a classmate carrying a gun, bomb or knife. For these girls to be humiliated over $100 allegedly stolen is outrageous.

Earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that strip-searching an Arizona middle school student suspected of bringing ibuprofen to school was unconstitutional.

UPDATE: Pam Spaulding discusses this case at Pandagon. An administrator has reportedly been placed on leave because of this incident.

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