Lawsuit: School Strip-Searched An 8-Year-Old Because Someone Found Feces On A Bathroom Floor

from the what-are-we-even-doing-here dept

Here’s what we’re strip-searching elementary school students for these days: the existence of feces on a school bathroom floor. (h/t Scott Greenfield)

In a lawsuit, a family claims an Edina elementary school strip-searched their son after they suspected him of having an accident in the bathroom.

Attorneys say the search was ultimately traumatic for the boy who has suffered mental and emotional distress.

“This situation is certainly bizarre; it’s unusual and perhaps unique,” said attorney Marshall Tanick, who represents the young boy and his mother.

Having discovered diarrhea on the bathroom floor, school administrators decided to do something no school administrator should do: they pulled the 8-year-old child (“W.B.” in the lawsuit) into the office, stripped him down, and “searched his naked rectal area” for evidence of floor-pooping.

That this was an elementary school makes this an even more egregious violation of the then-second grader’s body. Sometimes accidents happen. Looking for “suspects” is a stupid response to the inevitable. Deciding an 8-year-old should be strip-searched and examined in an attempt to link him to the discovery of feces on a bathroom floor is insane.

Hence the lawsuit [PDF]. The lawsuit alleges this search was performed without notifying W.B.’s parents and in direct contradiction of school policies, which only allow such extreme measures to be taken in situations involving “imminent danger” or an “emergency health situation.” Obviously, nothing here qualifies as either of those, no matter how broadly you choose to interpret those terms.

The lawsuit also alleges school policy requires parental notification if such a search is going to occur. That didn’t happen here. On top of that, the school has refused to turn over a copy of the incident report to the parents or their legal rep.

The lawsuit calls this what it is: assault. That’s one of the six violations alleged in the lawsuit, along with battery, intentional infliction of mental and emotional distress, invasion of privacy, and the violation of Minnesota’s Data Practices Act, which is tied to the school’s ongoing refusal to part with its incident report.

The statement from the school district is understandably vague, considering it’s being sued and the victim is a minor. But it’s still going on the defensive, attempting to portray the strip search and rectal examination of an 8-year-old student as something everyone would see as reasonable if only they had all the details.

District staff acted to support this student, and it is unfortunate that this matter has progressed to this point based on significant misunderstandings of the District’s actions. District staff at all times has the best interests of its students as their primary focus and goal, and the District remains committed to providing the best possible education and environment for its students.

It’s hard to misconstrue being ordered to remove your pants so school staff can check your rectal area, but here we are, waiting for that very assertion to be litigated. While it’s likely true most of the district staff do have the “best interests of their students” in mind “at all times,” there will always be those who think disproportionate responses are the best responses. Some accidents just need to be punished, and as harshly as possible. It’s happened far too many times for it to be unimaginable, even if the Edina School District would prefer us to believe otherwise.

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Comments on “Lawsuit: School Strip-Searched An 8-Year-Old Because Someone Found Feces On A Bathroom Floor”

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63 Comments
Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

So much wrong, and apparently for all the wrong reasons

If they thought the child was sick I could see sending him to the school nurse, who might do several things prior to removing his pants (and all of them in private) such as taking his temperature, asking how he feels, asking what he has eaten for the past several meals. Then, if indicated, ask him to drop trousers, but again, for what? There are oral thermometers, so why would one need to use rectal thermometers. I cannot imagine what test a school nurse could perform that makes any sense. A doctor, maybe, with more information, but not a nurse.

In addition I am absolutely flabbergasted when considering what they thought they were going to achieve with this action. Were they going to take a sample from his rectum and compare it to what was on the floor in the bathroom? Were they going to get the DNA tested? To what end? Was a law broken? Were they trying to set up a case to charge the parents for cleaning the bathroom? Were they upset because he didn’t immediately report having made a mess (failing to consider that he might have been embarrassed)? Nothing makes any sense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Do you not have noses in America?

The human nose is particularly attuned to detecting human excrement; it is a health hazard. If the kid smelt of shit, yes, send him to the nurse to get cleaned up. If the school was expecting to see it, they would have been able to smell it.

Given your propensity for availing yourself of canine expertise, maybe what’s needed in situations like these is a Poop Dogg.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

"based on significant misunderstandings of the District’s actions"

Please explain how I am misunderstanding you yanked a child out of his class room, forced him to strip, stared as his anus, & didn’t follow the rules?
I want you to explain how there is any fuscking way to misunderstand this.

Either you are brain damaged from the power you have over these kids or your a fscking pedophile with really odd kinks.
Either way you need to be removed & perhaps we should see how many other children were to traumatized to report you doing this to them, fearful of what you woudl do if they told you sick fucks.

That One Guy (profile) says:

When 'monumentally stupid' is the better possibility...

Their own story falls apart the second you put any thought into it. They thought an 8-year old had a bout of diarrhea so bad that he missed the toilet, didn’t get any of it on his clothing, didn’t bother to clean up afterwards and yet still didn’t get any on his clothes somehow? Because if it was really that bad a mess something would have been on the kid’s clothes, at the very least on his underwear which would have been immediately visible the second his pants were removed, such that even if the removal of ‘just’ his pants was justified(it still wouldn’t have been) there would have been no reason or need to insist on the removal of his underwear as well.

Even if they did find some crap still on the kid exactly what were they planning on doing to ‘match’ it with the crap that was on the floor, keeping in mind a much more reasonable explanation would be that a kid might not wipe thoroughly enough?

They either just really wanted to see an 8-year old’s naked ass, or they are so incredibly stupid that they shouldn’t be trusted with any job that requires any real decision making on their part. In either case they have no business working with and/or around children, and one would hope that the school realizes that protecting them from their actions is going to leave the school looking really bad and fires the lot of them.

District staff acted to support this student

If ‘forced to remove your clothes and show your naked ass to one or more adults’ is their idea of ‘supporting’ students then they need to close that school immediately, because by that standard a ‘punishment’ would likely result in hospitalization. Traumatizing a student by forcing them to remove their clothing and show their naked ass to someone against their will is in no way ‘supporting’ them, and the very idea that it would be is a sick joke and one they should feel rightly like scum to have made.

… and it is unfortunate that this matter has progressed to this point based on significant misunderstandings of the District’s actions.

No, the ‘unfortunate’ part is that it’s reached this point because you didn’t immediately fire and bring charges yourself against the perpetrators, and instead chose to double-down and defend a flat out indefensible act. People aren’t ‘misunderstanding’ what went on, they are rightly horrified and angry about what happened, and are trying to do your job and hold them accountable for their actions.

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Lets be clear, there’s no reasonableness about this.

At no point would anyone with any functioning brain look at the action chain here and think ‘this is reasonable, prudent and proportional’.

As such, there’s only one inference that can come from this:

There was an ulterior motive for this, there can be no other rational explanation. So let’s treat it like it was – a sexually motivated assault on a small boy. Slap the scatologically obsessed officials on the sex offender register and let’s be done. Because let’s face it, there’s nothing education in what they did. They acted with malicious intent to conceal the actions, even later, which shows premeditation, and then concealment of the actions. No-one acting in good faith would do the former, and no-one acting who felt their actions were reasonable would be hiding it.

Right now this is pushing the limits of what they hope can be deemed acceptable – if ANYONE ELSE got a kid, and decided to randomly take him into a room, and ‘investigate his anus’ they’d be in protective isolation in jail after falling down every step in the building. But a government official does it, and suddenly it’s ok. Gee I can’t wait until we give them guns to help them enforce their will.

Anything less than sexual assault charges and at least we won’t have to worry about a teaching shortage, because if you can get away with this, then you’re certainly going to get a boost in certain groups becoming teachers, for the sweet immunity (you know, like Qualified Immunity did for Cops)

tom (profile) says:

The kid probably should have received a gold star instead of a strip search. He did make it to the bathroom before going. How much worse for the students and staff if he had instead dumped in his pants, decided he was too embarrassed to say anything and gone on to his next class, because being late for class is probably a felony in this school.

Teacher at THAT school says:

Re: Re:

That actually would be preferable. He would be quickly schooled (hehe) by his classmates about why shitting in your pants is a bad idea. Kids can smell shit pretty well and aren’t afraid to point out "who dun it" after all.

I think this is the problem with the current school system, too many participation trophies and to little discipline and public humiliation. You see, PH is a very useful didactic tool. Most people don’t want to be publically humiliated so they will avoid situations that can get them into such. Shat your pants in school? You wear diapers with carebears on them for the rest of the year and no pants. Behave in an outrageous manner? Dunce cap is too polite, wear clown suit for the rest of the year.

After such training, you will have a polite, productive adults who are doing useful work instead of blocking roads screaming "WAGEH GAEP!" or "MUH CLIMATE!". Kids need to learn that the Government is never wrong. Government’s word is backed by publications made by scientists funded by the Government and a very skilled professional army. If Government says there is no climate change, then there isn’t, just like there isn’t any aliens in the Area 51 and that an alien craft didn’t crash in Roswell in 1947 (it was a Project MOGUL spy balloon).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Kids need to learn that the Government is never wrong. Government’s word is backed by publications made by scientists funded by the Government and a very skilled professional army. If Government says there is no climate change, then there isn’t, just like there isn’t any aliens in the Area 51 and that an alien craft didn’t crash in Roswell in 1947 (it was a Project MOGUL spy balloon).

See, now if this had been prior to 2016, the above comment would probably have been flagged as satire.

Then out_of_the_blue had to put his Sugar Daddy in the White House and everything went to hell.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"See, now if this had been prior to 2016, the above comment would probably have been flagged as satire. Then out_of_the_blue had to put his Sugar Daddy in the White House and everything went to hell."

Sad but true. After Trump took office it’s as if any post about government authority, especially regarding the US or UK, has become a default violation of Poe’s Law. Even the most inflammatory troll posting crap which would have him/her/it flagged like a typical irrelevant shitweasel under normal circumstances now sounds like a bona fide tweet from the US CiC.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I still can’t get over the time that Steven Miller said, “…the President’s authority … shall not be questioned,” with a straight face. I thought for sure that people only said that sort of thing in authoritarian countries or as a joke or satire. I never thought someone would actually say that and mean it in the U.S.

David says:

Wrong target

District staff acted to support this student, and it is unfortunate that this matter has progressed to this point based on significant misunderstandings of the District’s actions.

School staff needs to act in a manner a child can understand. Not in a manner they think they can explain to a court (and what made them think that, I don’t know).

Let’s hope they did not make photographs, or the kid could get a registration as a sex offender because of being an accessory in creating child pornography.

Anonymous Coward says:

But it’s still going on the defensive, attempting to portray the strip search and rectal examination of an 8-year-old student as something everyone would see as reasonable if only they had all the details.

… and the violation of Minnesota’s Data Practices Act, which is tied to the school’s ongoing refusal to part with its incident report.

Makes you go "hmmm", don’t it?

Teacher at THAT school says:

You would be pissed off too

…if some little shit shat on bathroom floor INTENTIONALLY, after running out of class where he was repeatedly told to wait for recess to go to toilet and then was like "hey look what I did," all smiling and such, like what he done was right, like he haven’t behaved like a fucking animal.

If some little shit behaves like an animal, he ought to be treated like one. Animals don’t wear clothes, last time I’ve checked.

And maybe, just maybe, he’ll wait for recess to go to the toilet the next time and shit into the toilet, where a proper child should shit into.

Dave says:

Re: You would be pissed off too

Disgusting trolling post. Beats me how folk take a delight in deliberately taking an opposite viewpoint and make out the main story is totally wrong, with malice thrown in for good measure. Oh hang on – this sounds suspiciously like lil’ ol’ Trumpy boy. You’re not his little bastard offspring, by any chance, are you?

sumgai (profile) says:

Re: You would be pissed off too

I’m surprised that most of you, including you Stephen, missed the sarcasm here… except the one who caught the poster’s name.

I’m betting that this will be the exact defense offered in court, and that the settlement, after suing for a bazillion dollars, will be a couple hundred thousand, enough to ensure the kid’s college education. But forever after this incident, he’ll be known as ‘ButtBoy’ or some other scatological nickname, which will preclude a productive life. For that , the perpetrators need to go down, hard.

sumgai

Anonymous Coward says:

Nothing can screw with a kid's mind more...

than adults, especially in a position of power, taking a "special" interest in you "for the kid’s own good".
I am not talking about pedophilia here, but the teacher who thinks a kid needs "steering" in the right direction by using mockery, singling out or punishments above the normal.
I was brought up to respect and always listen to adults – teachers above all – so when my teacher sought to make me "stronger" against bullying by singling me out and loudly proclaim how lazy I was, that I was fat and making me do my homework over and over even though I had the best grades in the class and then defended herself with that she tried to help me; it screwed me up for years. At the time (after it had gone on for 5 years), the school took her word and tried to make it out to be that I was the problem. One teacher and my classmates who had seen it going on, finally told when asked by my parents. ONE teacher! everyone knew it was going on… even the principal.

My point is that this could very well be such a case with a teacher, who, in their fucked up view, thinks they are somehow doing it for the kid’s own good by teaching him a lesson. Such teachers need to be removed and any administration who seeks to protect such teachers by default and without an extremely thorough investigation into the matter should go the same way. People who do this kind of psychological harm to anyone, needs to be fired publicly and the school should be the ones to do it by themselves, by spending any resources needed to uncover such things.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Nothing can screw with a kid's mind more...

It takes very little for a person in a position of authority, particularly a teacher, to screw up a kid for a long, long time.

I had a 5th grade teacher who would occasionally read to the class. One day during such a reading he pronounced a word (advertisement) differently than my young ears had heard before and I thought maybe he mispronounced it. I raised my hand, he stopped and called on me and I asked if maybe he mispronounced it. His response was public embarrassment via making me read the dictionary definition in front of the class. He could have simply said "no, it can be pronounced both ways" and thanked me for listening attentively while everyone else was half asleep. That little incident is still with me 40 years later. For more reasons than that he was my 2nd worst teacher.

Anonymous Coward says:

They should be thankful that the kid’s parents are merely suing. I’d probably have lost my damn mind in an all consuming rage and beaten everyone involved to death with watever was handy at the moment if this happened to my kid.

Even thinking about it, there’s not much point in trying to be civil with such power drunk and vindictive assholes. The kid now has to change schools because that kind of people think they are never wrong and will always keep trying to get revenge on the kid making his life hell if he stays after the lawsuit.

David says:

At least the feces couldn't have been from the district staff:

District staff acted to support this student, and it is unfortunate that this matter has progressed to this point based on significant misunderstandings of the District’s actions. District staff at all times has the best interests of its students as their primary focus and goal, and the District remains committed to providing the best possible education and environment for its students.

Clearly the district staff is still as full of shit as possible.

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