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Ten-year-old NC school boy strip-searched for $20 that he didn’t steal

This is outrageous. An assistant principal at a elementary school in Clinton, North Carolina seems to think a strip search of a 10 year old is A-OK. How on earth is doing something like this okay without parental consent?

Clarinda Cox says her 10-year-old son, Justin, a student at Union Elementary School, was ordered to take off everything but his T-shirt and boxer shorts on June 1 after a girl accused him of taking $20. Justin told his mother that a girl dropped the money in the cafeteria and that he picked it up and gave it back to her, Cox says.

“If I felt he needed to be searched, I would have brought him into the bathroom,” she said Monday. “You could have had a witness in the bathroom with me. I would have searched my son.”

The justification is that Assistant Principal Teresa Holmes said the boy had lied many times over the course of the school year. This is from Holmes’s statement about the strip search:

I told Justin to take off his shoes.  I looked inside them and moved the tongue of each shoe from left to right.  I told him to take off his socks.  I turned them inside out and looked at both of them.  I could see that Justin had on a pair of over-sized boxers.  I told him to take off his jeans.  I checked every pocket, the hem of both legs and the waistband.  I ran my hands around the outside of the waistband of his boxers.  I gave him his jeans to put back on.  I turned his socks back right side in and gave them to him to put back on.  I gave him his shoes to put back on.  I could see that he had a t-shirt on under his shirt, so I asked him to take off his shirt.  I checked the pockets on the shirt as well as the hem of the shirt tail and the hem of the sleeves.  I asked him to pull up his t-shirt so that I could see under it.  I gave him his shirt to put back on.

At this point, I knew that Justin did not have the money.  I sat in front of him telling him that I was sorry that I had to search him.  I again explained that as a school administrator, I had the authority to search him because two teachers thought he had the money as well as seven or eight students.

Again, where was the phone call to the parents before she went anywhere near his underpants? Sampson County Schools spokesperson Susan Warren said  Holmes had not violated any rules because the school janitor was present during the strip search.

By the way, school officials admitted that the $20 was found under a lunchroom table.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding