Chicago Public Schools has a policy that states that: “Under no circumstances are strip searches of students allowed on CPS premises.” Their policy also states that washroom searchers are not allowed. But that did not stop school officials at Taft High School from pulling a fifteen year old male student out of the classroom, taking him to a bathroom, frisking him with his clothes on and then pulled his pants and underpants down below his knees and checked his genitals. The male student had been previously diagnosed by Chicago Public Schools staff as having as emotional disorder along with severe learning disabilities and requires special educational teaching.
At the time of the incident, the student was in a special room at the school serving an in-school suspension for being disruptive. Suddenly, two school security guards, a Chicago police officer and a female assistant principal, entered the room and escorted the boy to a nearby bathroom. They accused him of having drugs and proceeded to conduct a full pat-down search which yielded nothing. Then one of the security guards told him to undo his belt and when he did, the guard pulled the student’s pants and underpants down to his knees and began frisking him including touching and searching his genitals, again finding nothing. The whole thing was done because school officials received an anonymous tip that the student was carrying drugs on him, but none were found.
When the school and the assistant principal were contacted for comment, they had none. Generally if someone is truly innocent of the charges made against them, they respond quickly that they are innocent and will be exonerated, but that didn’t happen which makes you wonder if in fact they are guilty of the accusations made by the student. If policy forbids bathroom searches and strip searches, then why did they go to those extremes based solely on an anonymous tip? Special needs students are often the subject of terrible pranks played on them by other students and everyone knows that it happens. You would expect school officials to be a little more sensitive to a special needs student in a situation like this, but they weren’t. - Dave Jolly