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4th Graders Strip-Searched at School

October 11, 2000

ADRIAN, Mo. (AP) _ A principal allegedly ordered fourth-grade children to strip to their underwear during a search for a missing war medal, and parents are seeking a reprimand.

The American Civil Liberties Union also sent a letter to school officials alleging that the pupils’ civil rights had been violated.

The medal, later found on the classroom floor, was brought for show-and-tell at Adrian Elementary School on Oct. 3.

After it disappeared, principal Wallace Henrickson allegedly had the boys file into a restroom one at a time.

The boys were told to strip to their underwear in front of Henrickson and a male coach, and the girls were patted down by a female teacher.

After the medal was found, Henrickson apologized to students and brought them soft drinks, parents said.

Parents contacted the ACLU, which said the children were traumatized ``emotionally, physically and illegally,″ and cited court cases protecting children against unreasonable searches at school.

In addition to the reprimand, parents want an apology from school officials and a district policy on student searches, said Dick Kurtenbach, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri.

Legal action may be taken, Kurtenbach said.

School attorney Beverly Propst said the district was investigating and would take action if it was determined that an improper search occurred.

Henrickson, reached at the school Wednesday morning, declined to comment.

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On the Net:

American Civil Liberties Union: http://www.aclu.org

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