The Binghamton (N.Y.) City School District is repudiating allegations that four black female students were questioned and strip searched by officials at East Middle School Jan. 15, the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reported.
“School officials did not conduct a strip search,” the board of education wrote in a statement.
Instead, the school board maintains that “misinformation” was spread via social media, and that medical evaluations may require a person to remove “bulky outside clothing to expose an arm so that vitals like blood pressure and pulse can be accessed.”
But in a statement, the girls’ parents say the strip search not only happened, but that the incident and its aftermath were “stressful and traumatic to our girls, to us as parents, and our collective families.”
On Tuesday, a protest erupted at a Binghamton school board meeting, during which community members spoke publicly about the students who were allegedly targeted after being suspected of possessing drugs.
Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow, a local organization that spotlights issues affecting marginalized members of the community, stated the girls were searched for "appearing hyper and giddy during their lunch hour.”
The school board maintains that it acted “in accordance” with its policy, and that the girls were not punished and were allowed to return to class.
But according to the parents, one of the girls did not comply with the strip search and was sent to in-school suspension.
“All four girls missed several days of instruction after this experience,” the parents said. “They no longer feel safe at East Middle.”