One mother said Detroit charter school officials ransacked her eighth-grade daughter without parental consent for a vape pen the 14-year-old didn’t have. Their lawsuit argues that George Crockett Academy violated the constitutional rights of the teenager at the behest of the principal, who authorized two female officers to perform strip searches.
The search took place on April 25, but the mother filed a lawsuit Wednesday (May 3) in Wayne County Court, according to Detroit Metro Times.
School officials did not notify the girl’s mother – their identities are not made public at this time. The lawsuit alleges the employees failed to find a vape pen because the girl never had it in the first place.
The mother’s attorney, Hannah Fielstra of Ernst Law Firm in Detroit, said: “It has long been said that students must not give up their constitutional rights on the doorstep. “The school has no good reason to deprive an 8th grade girl of her right to search for a vape pen. It is not a weapon and poses no imminent danger to anyone.”
The mother’s lawyer continued: “No credible threat of violence. A strip search is one of the most invasive searches recognized by law and it was performed on a teenage girl while in school.”
An eighth grader was “forced to take off her shirt and trousers, lift up her bra and fold down the top of her panties when she learned she was on her period” while officials at a school in… Detroit looks for a vape pen (non-existent), a lawsuit states https://t.co/kiul9iZgSy
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 4, 2023
Fielstra called the search humiliating “but (also) a violation of her constitutional rights.”
“The circumstances of this strip search were not only humiliating but also a violation of her constitutional rights. The school has gone too far.”
Vape Pen accused by ‘Bully’ who has a grudge against the girl, demands lawsuit
Another student, who allegedly bullied the stripped child, allegedly told the teacher about the vape pen, the lawsuit claims.
RELATED: People are calling for justice after an 8-year-old girl is said to have been ransacked before visiting her father in a Virginia jail
According to the lawsuit, school officials should have been more skeptical of claims about students. It added that the school did not further investigate the vape pen allegations prior to conducting the strip search.
“The defendants did not ask any follow-up questions to corroborate the charge with any details indicating that the female student with known hatred towards (plaintiff) knew directly that the pen vape was in (her) panties,” the states lawsuit.
An employee examines a child inside an office. The stores reported that they forced the teenage girl to lift up her shirt, bra and pants, even though she was on her period at the time.
Superintendent of Suring Public Schools Wisconsin Public Schools Superintendent Kelly Casper, 51, Accused of Stripping Finding Students to Get Vapes Faces Criminal Charges. She allegedly told teenagers to make ‘better choices’. https://t.co/fdIa5Dm3mj via @lawcrimenews
— (((mmmexperimental))❌💙💙💙 🖖👍💖🧡💞She/She (@mmmexperimental) March 2, 2022
Schools have a history of strip searches without parental consent
The school allegedly has a history of “conducting searches of minors without parental consent.” Initially, they tried to confirm the search did not take place before claiming that the girl volunteered to be searched.
The eighth grader denied that claim. According to the lawsuit, the trauma of the incident caused her mental distress, emotional distress, humiliation and shame.
The news comes months after a school superintendent in Wisconsin was accused of false imprisonment. She allegedly detained six students in the school bathroom. She then made them take off their underwear to find e-cigarettes.
The prosecutor charged then-General Manager Kelly Casper on six counts of false imprisonment in February 2022.
Casper is said to have taken the six schoolgirls into the bathroom and told them to undress so she could find the e-cigarette documentation.
However, in June 2022, a judge finally dropped all charges against Casper, according to WAY.