North Carolina Supreme Court sends student “bra search” suit back to trial court for further evidentary findings
The Associated Press (AP) reports in the Citizen-Times that the North Carolina Supreme Court has vacated the North Carolina Court of Appeals decision holding that a bra-lift search at Brunswick County Academy was “degrading, demeaning and highly intrusive.” The state Supreme Court has sent the case back to the trial court with instructions that the court determine who witnessed a contested drug search involving a 15-year-old at an alternative school who had to untuck her shirt and pull out her bra with her thumb. It wants the lower court to find out more facts about what happened, including who was present when the unnamed girl was searched.
The search reportedly occurred in front of three adults, two of them men. Female students, including the one identified only as T.A.S., were required to pull their undergarments away from their skin so that any hidden drugs or paraphernalia would fall out. Attorneys for the state argued that the search was minimally invasive because no skin was shown. The contested search of T.A.S. found drug paraphernalia and a white powder identified as Percocet. The student asked a trial judge to prevent the evidence from being used, but the judge refused. She pleaded guilty in March 2009 to two drug-related misdemeanors.
Source: Citizen-Times, 10/5/12, By AP
The trial court is ordered to make additional findings of fact, including but not necessarily limited to: the names, occupations, genders, and involvement of all the individuals physically present at the “bra lift” search of T.A.S.; whether T.A.S. was advised before the search of the Academy’s “no penalty” policy; and whether the “bra lift” search of T.A.S. qualified as a “more intrusive” search under the Academy’s Safe School Plan.
In August 2012, Legal Clips summarized a Fox 4 News story on fox4kc.com, which reported that the Turner School District (TSD) had filed a motion in federal court to dismiss a suit brought by the mother of a female student who claimed her student was wrongfully strip-searched. The student's mother charged that school officials forced her daughter to lift her shirt and bra up, exposing herself after another student falsely accused her daughter of having drugs at high school in December 2011.]