A community in New York state is loudly protesting after four Black girls, under suspicion of having drugs, were allegedly questioned and strip-searched by the school nurse and assistant principal at East Middle School in Binghamton.
According to the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin, almost 200 community members packed into a school board meeting, demanding why the board had taken no action in response to the alleged searches that apparently occurred after the girls, who are Black, 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,” said Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow, a local organization in the area.
The school said that they investigated the incident, citing the current law and policy which allows students to 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.”
“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,” the school’s statement added.
The statement made no mention of strip searches. However, district administrators intend to review procedures and policies.
The local NAACP has gotten involved with Broome-Tioga President Mica Barreiro demanding that the school stop the practice of strip searching for any reason. The organization has issued a list of demands that include: removing the assistant principal and the principal from the school for poor judgement, removing the nurse who carried out the search, publicly apologizing to the students, the families and the community, and providing alternate instruction for the impacted students, either at another school, or at home, until the situation has been resolved in a way that satisfies the families.
“Broome-Tioga NAACP is appalled that they even have to ask for instruction,” Barreiro said, before being cut off by the board.
Many pointed out that just because the girls were “hyper and giddy” should not have subjected them to that treatment, demanding better education for administrators on the signs and symptoms of drug use