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August 2007
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Money and an apology

Three years ago I mentioned a pretty horrific, unjustified school strip search.

CHESTERTOWN, Md. (AP) – Authorities entered an “unclear” legal area when they sent four dogs into the local high school for a drug search without a warrant, patted down 16 students and ordered two female students to partially disrobe, the Kent County sheriff said. […]
Sixteen students were subjected to “pat-down” searches, while the other two received what the sheriff would describe only as “more thorough searches.”
One of the two, Heather Gore, 15, said Thursday that a female deputy ordered her to remove her skirt, then lifted her tank top, exposing her breasts. Gore said she was then told to spread her legs while the officer checked her underwear.

Well maybe now, schools will decide that they need, at the very least, a little probable cause before subjecting students to such humiliation in the name of the drug war.

2 Women Get Apologies, Are Awarded $285,000 For Experience During High School Drug Sweep

Kudos to Heather Gore and Jessica Bedell, who showed remarkable strength in dealing with a very uncomfortable (and public) situation (at a time in their lives that can be extremely traumatic). Instead of trying to hide and pretend it didn’t happen, they and their families fought for their rights and for an apology. (The money to pay for college is a nice bonus.)

“I told our clients that the apology might actually be the most rewarding aspect because it’s the hardest to get,” said Deborah A. Jeon, the state ACLU’s legal director. “We think this is very significant.”

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