Missouri 4th Graders Strip-Searched at School

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - A principal allegedly ordered fourth-grade children at an Adrian, MO, elementary school to strip to their underwear during a search for a missing war medal.

Incensed parents are seeking a reprimand, according to various media reports.

The American Civil Liberties Union also sent a letter to school officials alleging that the pupils' civil rights had been violated.

The medal, later found on the classroom floor, was brought for show-and-tell at the school on October 3.

After the medal disappeared, principal Wallace Henrickson allegedly had the 4th-grade boys file into a restroom one at a time.
The boys were told to strip to their underwear in front of Henrickson and a male coach, and 4th-grade girls were patted down by a female teacher.

After the medal was found, Henrickson apologized to students and brought them soft drinks, parents said.

Parents contacted the ACLU. The organization claims that the children were traumatized "emotionally, physically and illegally" and cited court cases protecting children against unreasonable searches at school.

In addition to the reprimand, parents want an apology from school officials and a district policy on student searches, according to Dick Kurtenbach, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri.

Kurtenbach added that legal action may be taken in the case.

School attorney Beverly Propst told wire service reporters that the district was investigating and would take action if it was determined that an improper search occurred.