An Oklahoma middle schooler was forced to lift up her shirt, show her bra and spin in front of her school’s principal during an illegal strip search for a vape pen, according to a new lawsuit.
In the complaint filed earlier this month, the mother of the 14-year-old girl claims her daughter was asked to lift her shirt high enough so that the school’s principal could “view the minor child’s bra.”
The girl, who was accused of having a nicotine vape pen at Heartland Middle School in 2021, was subjected to a strip search in a room “with an uncovered window that has a clear view to general access areas of the school,” according to the filing.
The search was conducted in front of the school’s principal, Veronica Johnson, a school resource officer and another student.
Johnson is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
The young girl claims she had to “bare her abdomen and the top of her boxers and spin,” according to the filing. During the search, Johnson asked allegedly asked the teen what kind of undergarments she was wearing underneath her pants.
According to the lawsuit, Johnson also ordered the student to lift her shirt up high enough so she could see her bra.
No vape pen was found during the search and no warrant was obtained prior to the event, which took place on May 10, 2021.
In addition to Johnson, Edmond Public Schools and Heartland Middle School are also named as defendants.
The complaint states that the minor was “improperly and unreasonably subjected to a strip search” and accuses the school, principal, and district of negligence, assault and violating the district policy and state law.
The lawsuit says the actions taken against the young girl were “wrongful, extreme, and outrageous, transcending the bounds of all human decency.”
As a result of the search, the student “suffered extreme emotional distress and hardship,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit argues that the incident violated her Fourth Amendment rights, which protect people against unreasonable searches and seizures. The lawsuit also said the ordeal violated Oklahoma law and Edmond Public Schools policy.
The lawsuit is seeking in excess of $25,000 in damages, plus attorney’s fees and costs occurred.
Similar to Oklahoma state law, Edmond Public Schools’ policy states that “in no event shall a strip search of a student be allowed.”
Both the state and school’s policies strictly forbid strip searches beyond removing students’ outerwear.