Revenge cooked up by a jealous teen led to a 15-year-old girl being stripped-searched and forced to bare her breasts by Turner School District administrators, according to court documents.
The girl is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.
An attorney for the girl told KCTV5 Thursday that there is no disputing the strip search. The only issue is the exposure and the amount of privacy invasion involved.
Citing the pending litigation, Turner School District officials declined to comment.
The girl's ordeal started on Dec. 9, when Turner Assistant Principal Nancy Barteck confronted the teen and accused her of having marijuana or drug paraphernalia, according to court documents.
The girl had never had any drug issues and "does not associate with students who use drugs," according to court documents. Attorney Richard Klein said the girl's only prior issue was getting caught smoking in the school bathroom.
Klein contends that the tip came from another girl who was jealous because the 10th grader "had been speaking with a boy the other student liked." The rival teen made up the accusation.
But acting on the accusation, Barteck demanded to search the 15-year-old girl. The teen consented to a patdown search of her body and a search of her backpack and shoes. This was done by a school resource officer.
That turned up nothing.
"Ms. Barteck then told (the student) that somebody said that (the girl) was hiding drug paraphernalia in her bra and that a search of her bra was required," according to the lawsuit.
The girl said it would be too humiliating to remove her bra or show her breasts, and refused to such an invasive search, according to court documents.
School administrators tried to reach the girl's mother to get her consent, but could not do so. The administrators then reached the girl's grandfather, who may or may not have given consent. Based on this conversation, the girl was hauled into the school nurse's office and ordered to remove her bra, according to court documents.
The school nurse under the watchful eyes of the assistant principal attempted to pull up the girl's shirt "and placed her hands on (the girl's) breasts," according to court documents.
The girl tried to escape and repeated that she would not consent to such a search. The school nurse, Ernestine Bowren, and Barteck then "coerced" the student into lifting up her shirt and bra, according to court documents. The girl was forced to expose her breasts.
Again, no drugs or drug paraphernalia was found.
The girl was distraught.
"Within 20 minutes of the incident, and after (the girl) had returned to class, Ms. Barteck pulled her out of the classroom and threatened (the student) with suspension if she told anybody about the strip search," according to court records.
The girl remains embarrassed, frightened and humiliated, according to court documents. The girl did not return to class until Jan. 3.
"After returning to school, she was continuously harassed by school officials and she acted out in retaliation to that harassment," according to court records.
Her family removed the girl from the district on March 1 and she is now taking online high school classes.
Klein said school officials could have taken the girl to a juvenile center in Wyandotte County instead of forcing her to remove her shirt in the nurse's office.
"They can take her there and let the police handle it," Klein said. "If the police think there's a reason to do a strip search, then they can do it."
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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