The school has since denied that the girls were strip-searched.
A middle school in New York state is facing protests from community members after news spread of the school’s nurse and assistant principal allegedly questioning and conducting a strip-search on four black middle school girls.
The alleged incident took place at East Middle School in Binghamton. According to the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin, the search on the girls happened because they appeared “hyper and giddy during their lunch hour.”
“The children were instructed to remove their clothing, and felt shamed, humiliated and traumatized by the experience,” Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow, a local organization in the area said.
Close to 200 community members attended a school board meeting following the allegations, and asked the board why they hadn’t responded or taken action yet.
The school district released the following statement on the incident:
“Unfortunately, our students shared that these actions have had the unintended consequences of making the students feel traumatized. We sincerely apologize for the impact this has had and are working with these families to support their children’s success. A student may, under current law and policy, be searched in a school building by an administrator when the administrator reasonably suspects that a student’s health is in danger or is in possession of a substance that may harm themselves or others.”
However, as the Sun-Bulletin notes, the school district’s statement does mention searches that may involve students emptying their pockets or removing shoes or jackets. But it made no mention of strip searches.
The Binghamton Board of Education has since released a statement denying that the girls were strip-searched.
“No students were strip searched, nor were they punished as a result of the incident in question and they were allowed to return to class after being evaluated,” the board said according to WNBF.
The statement also said that during a student medical evaluation, there may be a need to remove “bulky outside clothing to expose an arm so that vitals like blood pressure and pulse can be assessed.” The statement added that “this is not the same as a strip search.”