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KC Schools Confirm Strip Searches

March 28, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ School district officials said Wednesday an investigation has confirmed that a group of third-grade students were improperly strip-searched for missing lunch money.

According to parents, at least two teachers at Pitcher Elementary searched 23 students for $5 in missing lunch money on March 18. The money was eventually found, though not through the searches.

District officials said in a written statement Wednesday and in a letter to parents that the searches were ``an egregious violation″ of school policy.

``The District finds the conduct of the adults directly involved in this incident to be abhorrent,″ district officials said in the statement.

The school’s principal and two teachers were suspended last week pending a school district investigation.

School district spokesman Edwin Birch said they remained suspended, but said state law prohibited him from talking about any other disciplinary action they face.

Parents have said a female third-grade teacher started the search after other efforts to find the money failed. She reportedly took the girls to a restroom, then had them pair up in stalls, where they were told to check each other’s underwear.

The boys went to the gymnasium with a male physical education teacher, who took them one at a time into a locker room where each was told to strip down and shake his underwear, parents said.

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