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Former student sues Turner School District over alleged strip search

By TONY RIZZO
The Kansas City Star

A former high school student is suing the Turner School District in Kansas City, Kan., alleging that she was strip-searched after another student falsely accused her of possessing drugs.

The girl was 15 last December when school officials forced to her to lift her shirt and bra so they could see if she was hiding drugs or drug paraphernalia, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Wyandotte County District Court.

After the search, school officials learned that the tipster had made up the drug allegation because the accused girl had been talking to a boy that the tipster liked, according to the suit.

The school district did not respond Friday to request for comment.

The girl’s family contends that school officials were “absolutely unreasonable” in ordering a strip search and the girl has been traumatized by the incident, according to attorneys Marc Berry and Richard Klein, who filed the suit on behalf of the girl and her family.

The suit contends that after the incident, the girl was subject to harassment at school, and on March 1 she dropped her enrollment. She is pursuing classes online.

When school officials confronted the girl about the allegations, they unsuccessfully tried to contact her mother to get permission to do the strip search, the suit says. They did talk to her grandfather, who “may or may not have given permission,” according to the suit.

“Regardless of his comments, no reasonable person could view ‘permission,’ if given, from a grandfather, as consent to search,” the attorneys contend in their lawsuit.

The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages being sought for the alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and civil rights violations.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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