Turnabout is fair play. Accordingly, a North Carolina family is suing the pants off the Sampson County (N.C.) Board of Education after a female assistant principal ordered the pants off their 10-year-old son, whom she suspected of theft.
The website WatchdogWire notes that a U.S. magistrate has agreed to “has agreed to hold school officials accountable” for their actions regarding the strip search of a young boy known as J.C. (since identified as Justin Cox) at Union Elementary School in June 2012.
The story goes that the boy and some other children were having lunch when one of the girls dropped some money on the floor. J.C. bent down to pick it up and handed her some change, but she said she dropped $20.
Apparently, a teacher and the other students began to accuse J.C. of pocketing the bill, and the assistant principal showed up. Taking the 10 year old to her office, and in the presence of a male custodian, she proceeded to have the boy undress to his undergarments, then ran her hand around ‘the rim’ of his underpants looking for the money.
The cash was later recovered from the floor of the lunchroom, but by then, the family’s attorneys argue, the fifth-grader’s Fourth Amendment rights had been violated. The suit also alleges that the school was derelict in training “employees in how to appropriately deal with such matters.”
The magistrate affirmed four claims on the child’s constitutional rights addressed by the lawsuit: 1) Deprivation of 4th Amendment Rights; 2) Deprivation of Rights Under N.C. Const. Art.I, §20; 3) Battery 4) Invasion of Privacy.
The case can now proceed, but the “federal court still has to come forward and affirm the ruling,” according to Nisha Whitehead, one of the attorneys. Also, as part of the lawsuit, attorneys have asked for a trial by jury.