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#1 of 33 Old 08-15-2004, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My city used to have a policy that banned the practice of strip searching students, but over the summer the policy was revised and now strip searches may be conducted by a school official as long as the official is the same gender as the student and there is another adult witness. They claim that strip searches will only be done in a "dire emergency" but I wonder what situations will be considered "dire."

Here's a link to a brief news story about it.
http://www.wina.com/storyshow.asp?id=10006

I have a seventh grade boy and a sixth grade girl and I am feeling kind of freaked out. There was a situation at a school in the next county in which a large group of students were forced to undergo a sort of modified strip search--they had to lift their shirts and roll down the waistbands of their pants. I certainly don't want kids to be able to bring weapons to school, but I think strip searching crosses a line. What do you think? Would you be upset if your school district instituted such a policy?
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#2 of 33 Old 08-15-2004, 08:23 PM
 
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I think the restrictions they're putting on it (only by an officer of the same sex, with a witness present) will go a long way to preventing abuses. I'd probably want to know a little more about what they consider a *dire emergency* too, but honestly, if their goal is to keep my child safe, I'd want them to do what they felt they had to, so long as it wasn't arbitrary and was conducted with the safeguards they mentioned.

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#3 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I see what you're saying, but I still worry. To me, the only "dire" emergency is the presence of a gun in the school and since when do you need to do a strip search to find a gun on someone. I don't think the presence of drugs on an individual student present a hazard to student health and safety great enough to warrent a strip search--unless someone has figured out how to fire bullets from a joint, LOL. I guess my main fear is large groups of students being searched in a sort of "who's got the drugs" scenario.
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#4 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 10:23 AM
 
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Since you are involved in the PTO, could you start agitating with other parents to get this policy changed? If there was enough of a parental outcry, they might think twice about it.
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#5 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 10:42 AM
 
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There are other weapons than guns -- small knives, syringes, etc., can be hidden and not easily felt through clothing.

I would rather have someone strip-searched by a same-sex officer and a witness present than have weapons in my school.
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#6 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 10:44 AM
 
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Holy cow. I'd be freaking out too! Its not just the risk of abuse that bothers me, but the fact that such an ordeal would be completely humiliating and traumatic even under the best possible circumstances. No way would I *ever* want my child to go through this at school. It would be reason enough for me to want to find a different school.
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#7 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 02:59 PM
 
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Quote:
I think the restrictions they're putting on it (only by an officer of the same sex, with a witness present) will go a long way to preventing abuses.
Something about a young boy being strip searched by an adult man, with another adult man in the room as a "witness" does NOT sound good to me! What if the boy is abused and the witness just backs up the abuser?

If they are looking for guns, drugs or explosives, they can bring in a dog to do it.

What if the student will not submit to the search? Will she be forcibly held down by the school official and have her clothing ripped off? I think that if someone feels a strip search is really necessary, the parents should just be called to remove the child. That way, if the kid actually had something, it would be removed from school property and the parents could decide how to deal with the child themselves.

BTW, cavity searches are only supposed to be done in a jail setting by a female police officer, and objects can only be removed by a doctor in a hospital. Just so you know...
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#8 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 06:27 PM
 
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and he said "only if the teacher and witness agree to be strip searched too"

I know there are safety issues out there like never before ( saw how downhill ds old school has gone this spring) but this seems like a civil rights violation. Is your state like Texas where the school is "in loco parentis?"....
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#9 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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EFMom, I'm considering organizing a parent revolt for this policy. That's why I posted this thread--to see what parents in general feel about strip searches in schools.

I don't even want to think about body cavity searches! Ack! Greaseball, I'm going to ask the principals at ds's and dd's schools what would happen if a student refused to submit to a search.

We just got a new superintendent and she was formerly the superintendent of the New Orleans Area Public Schools. I'm wondering if she is behind all this.
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#10 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 06:32 PM
 
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I find that totally unacceptable.
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#11 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 07:32 PM
 
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Strip searches?! I was hoping this thread was a joke :

My kid will go to public school over my dead body, this just reaffirms that.
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#12 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 07:53 PM
 
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"only if the teacher and witness agree to be strip searched too"
Now there's a policy I could live with! Who gets to do the search on the school officials?
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#13 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 08:53 PM
 
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my opinion is based on my ds experience of having guns & knives brought to his very good midwest jr high school and having the school locked down by the ps security staff while cops came that was the year after columbine when a lot of copy cat stuff went on, that year his school was locked down at least 3 times I know of, that was his last year at ps.
I think if there is very good reason to suspect of kid of carrying, then yes someone in charge should be able to pat the kid down and check
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#14 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 09:04 PM
 
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If there was a good reason, they could call in the parents to be present.
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#15 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 09:49 PM
 
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they lock down the school & classrooms and no one can leave or enter except the police

no time to be calling mommy at home or work when there is supposedly a gun on someone in the hallway
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#16 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Cerridwen, I don't know if my state has a policy like Texas' (we're in Virginia.) I'll have to investigate.

The thought of patting down kids--which is still kind of invasive--doesn't freak me out to the extent that strip searching does.

I'm already homeschooling two of my kids--this may propell me into hs-ing the other two.
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#17 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 10:07 PM
 
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yes someone in charge should be able to pat the kid down and check" BUT patting down and strip searches are two separate things..
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#18 of 33 Old 08-17-2004, 10:18 PM
 
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I just read the article to my dh who is a teacher. He taught in inner-city conditions and has accepted a job elsewhere this year.

He said the only type of search that his former school could do was to maybe make a student turnout their pockets. Even then, a police officer needed to be present.
He was unsure if the state would even permit this type of measure.
There were metal detectors at the school and if I remember correctly, they would occassionally look in a backpack. The school had security guards. Most of the city schools here have security gaurds, so that really isn't odd for us. At least not anymore.

I think it is an example of the type of society we have become when we have to post guards at schools to keep our kids safe from each other.
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#19 of 33 Old 08-26-2004, 04:47 PM
 
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Honestly if I lived in a district where kids were bringing weapons to schools, the school had a history of being locked down, or strip searches being done my kid would be pulled and we'd be moving to a small town where things like that don't happen. The exposure to things like that, even if my kid doesn't partake in those activities, is imo enough to cause harm. If those type of activities are happening, how do I know my child is safe in the school.
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#20 of 33 Old 08-26-2004, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But our schools aren't like that. We live in a small city recently rated in Frommer's Guide as the #1 place to live in the US. There's little crime, the public schools are better than most, and we don't have serious, violent crimes occurring in our schools--which is why this strip search policy really surprised me.
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#21 of 33 Old 08-28-2004, 10:22 PM
 
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I think the irony of this is that our schools here don't have a zero tolerance policy about guns... here kids can bring guns to shool. I wonder if they are justifying the strip searches because of this dichotomy. However, I did just see something recently about somebody (don't remember who) trying to get a zero tolerance policy here.

Although... the statistics show that since 2001 there have been practically zero kids caught bringing weapons to school... (The full Stepping Stones report coming out next week!)
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#22 of 33 Old 08-28-2004, 10:25 PM
 
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What? I've never heard of a kid being able to bring a gun to school. You have to be 21 to own a handgun and 18 to own a shotgun or rifle - isn't that right? I thought that was the law everywhere in the U.S.

And in my state, concealed weapons permit holders can't even carry a gun within 200 feet of an elementary or secondary school. I thought that was the law everywhere too. :
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#23 of 33 Old 08-28-2004, 11:30 PM
 
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Christ, if my school had strip searches, or even metal detectors, etc...I would take it as a VERY BAD SIGN, not a good thing. I wouldn't work in an environment that NEEDED all that security, why would I send my child there? Time to either move, homeschool, find the resources to go to private school. I am actually in this situation, as we live in a big city with crappy schools. Half of the schools in my district were designated "persistently dangerous" by some state authority. I am already researching private schools. The parents should all be up in revolt that they are supposed to send their kids there. But, I guess they just don't know any better, or feel powerless to change things.
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#24 of 33 Old 08-28-2004, 11:55 PM
 
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Greaseball... mostly... you do have to be 18/21 to PURCHASE a gun here, but under 18 can carry one in specific circumstances - like going to/from hunting. My DH said that when he was a teen in high school here the schools USED TO not think anything of it when a kid would bring such a thing to school property (Note: "Routinely" he said it was left in their car during hunting season, and the boys would just brag about it. Even then you couldn't get away with it being brought directly to class & laying it on the desk :LOL) 'cause they would be going hunting before or after school... So if caught they would just say, well I was going hunting, and it was dropped. I would imagine it's definitely less likely to be a valid excuse anymore!!

But, our local schools still DO NOT have a zero tolerance policy in place.

I found the code: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...cod+18.2-308.7
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#25 of 33 Old 08-29-2004, 08:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I forgot about that "kids gotta hunt" mentality in the Virginia schools, although it probably doesn't fly in the Charlottesville City schools.

But I feel like posting again to address the fact that I'm feeling judged by a few of the posts on this thread--the ones that seem to ask "What kind of mother would send her kids to a school that's so full of drugs and weapons that strip searches are necessary." For some parents, the local public school is the ONLY choice. What is a single parent, working hard to put food on the table supposed to do in such a situation? What are parents who can't afford private school supposed to do? I'm not a single mother, but at this point, my kids have to stay in their schools.

I know about homeschooling--I'm currently homeschooling my two youngest children. I don't feel inclined, at the moment, to hs four children at once. And our schools are NOT violent awful places, rife with guns and drugs. They offer good academics and a stellar fine arts program. This is why, instead of simply yanking my kids out of the schools, I prefer to get the School Board to change their policy.
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#26 of 33 Old 08-29-2004, 09:03 PM
 
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I've gone to big schools most of my life where kids were bringing weapons to school all the time (I remember one year-in 7th grade-there were 3 kids expelled for guns-in middle school!!!). However, I think that if there is such a strong suspicion that the school wants to strip search a child, the police need to be involved. Teachers are not there so that they can conduct strip searches. There are procedures involved and a lot of room to go wrong. They are educators, not law enforcement officers!!
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#27 of 33 Old 08-29-2004, 10:49 PM
 
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I would think if they were in dire need to do a strip search police officers would also be needed.

IMO, the things that would warrent strip searches are illegal, drugs and weapons.

If they have a child subdue to do a strip search then they should have call the police for him/her to properly be charged.

You will notice the police do not have a right to just strip search anyone. They have to reasoniable suspection or a safty issueand/or detaining them in jail (were there is a reason safety issue).

http://writ.news.findlaw.com/colb/20031217.html

On December 4, in People v. Mitchell, an appellate court in New York held that NYPD officers violated the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures when they stripped a suspect in the street, in front of a church, in the absence of "circumstances that pose potentially serious risks to the arresting officer or others in the vicinity." In other words, according to the court, the simple fact that police had probable cause to arrest a suspect did not alone authorize them to perform a public strip search.

Actually that article has several cases you might want to quote to the powers at be. Teachers/school officials are not police they are not above the police or the 4th amendant.
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#28 of 33 Old 08-30-2004, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for that info, Marsupialmom.
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#29 of 33 Old 08-30-2004, 09:39 AM
 
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ITA - we've got pretty darned good public schools here!

Here's an interesting stat:

The number of reports of weapons in schools declined in Charlottesville from a high of 6.6 per 1,000 in 1999 to 0.1 in 2003. The number of public school suspensions in Charlottesville has increased from 98 per 1000 in 1998 to 177 per 1000 in 2003.
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#30 of 33 Old 09-01-2004, 09:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bippity

But, our local schools still DO NOT have a zero tolerance policy in place.

And I would say, thank heaven you don't. The stories of zero-tolerance schools are shameful - kids _expelled_ for forgetting they had a 2" pocketknife their dad gave them in a backpack, expelled for having an asprin, expelled for lending their inhaler to another student having a terrible asthma attack, expelled because a friend's marajuana seed(!) was found in a backseat of a car on school property. Zero-tolerance policies are just another excuse for public schools to control every last element of a child's (and their family's) life, and for crushing out the soul of the individual. Rules are fine and good, but zero-tolerance is cruel, and, by definition, arbitrary. Kids have committed suicide over being expelled for zero-tolerance rules. Lives have been royally screwed up. What college is going to want an expelled kid, no matter why he was expelled? Some kids deserve expulsion, but not all.

-Laura
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