EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – A principal in Edmond Public Schools faces a lawsuit after allegations of an unlawful strip search for a student back in 2021.
Court documents show that on May 10, 2021, the student at Heartland Middle School was suspected of carrying a vape.
However, the recently filed case by the parent of the student claims that a vape was not discovered.
A representative for Edmond Public Schools told KFOR by email they cannot comment on the case because of pending litigation.
The documents state that the teen was taken to a room with a “clear view to general access areas” of the school before a search was conducted in front of the principal, a school resource officer and another minor student.
Additional details show that during the search the student was “commanded” to lift her shirt, [to expose] her bare abdomen and the top of her boxers, and spin.
The documents also say the principal asked what undergarments the girl was wearing under her pants.
The lawsuit claims that no warrant was obtained for the search, the principal should have known that exposing the child’s midsection and undergarments amounted to a strip search and that the incident caused the student extreme emotional distress.
The lawsuit also says the search violated Edmond Public School policy, as well as the girl’s Fourth Amendment rights though the U.S. Constitution, which protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Fourth Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seizedSOURCE: Constitution.congress.gov
The lawsuit cites seven causes of action, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, violation of Edmond Public School Policy #4820, violation of Oklahoma Law 70 O.S. § 24-102, violation of Oklahoma Statute Title 21 § 21-112 Sexual Assault, Assault, and a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The attorney for the plaintiff is asking for damages in excess of $25,000.
They declined to comment but told KFOR by phone that they would like to hear from other students who may have experienced similar situations.
A legal expert told the station while the lawsuit may have merit, the attorney would have to show exactly how the girl was emotionally damaged, and to what extent.