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Friday, December 8, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Abusive Strip Searches Alleged in School

CHICAGO (CN) - Welcome to school. Take your clothes off. In separate federal complaints, a high school boy and a middle school girl claims school officials strip searched them illegally, and found nothing.

The boy claims a security officer at Christian Fenger High School made him take his pants off, spread his butt cheeks and bend over. He and his mother sued the Chicago Board of Education, Fenger teacher Albert Cruse, Fenger "support personnel" Theodore Henderson, the City of Chicago and its police Officer Berry. Berry and Cruse allegedly ordered Henderson to strip search the boy, a junior, and he made the boy "take down his pants, bend over, and spread his cheeks." They found nothing, according to the complaint.

The girl, an 8th grader at Perspectives - Calumet Middle School, claims school officials made her take off her shirt, undershirt, pants and shoes, and that a security guard, "Ms. Bowen," then grabbed her bra and shook it. "The search was performed at the direction of and with the approval of defendants Davis and Fitch," and turned up nothing, according to the complaint.

The girl and her mother sued Perspectives Charter School dba Perspectives - Calumet Middle School, its principal Tamara Davis, its dean of students Elana Fitch, the security guard Ms. Bowen, the City of Chicago, Chicago police Officer Jane Doe, and the Chicago Board of Education.

Plaintiffs in both cases demand damages for assault and battery, false imprisonment, emotional distress and violations of state and federal laws. Both children and their mothers are represented by James Fennerty.

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