A school staff allegedly strip searched 28 high school students
to find a cellphone during a year-end exam, sparking an internal investigation of the incident.
The school's board admitted that staff at Cap-Jeunesse high school in Saint-Jerome, QC "lacked judgment" when they asked more than two dozen Grade 10 students to remove their clothes to prevent cheating on a math test, according to Canada's QMI Agency.
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Students were instructed to place their phones on a teacher's desk before the test. One student's cell phone was unaccounted for, triggering teachers to order the strip search.
"They put us in a small room," one teenage girl, who didn't give her name, told QMI Agency. "(They said) 'take off your bra, then raise your arms.' They even tapped us on the back."
It is unclear how many teachers were involved in the decision.
School board spokeswoman Nadyne Brochu admitted teachers went too far.
"It was a disproportionate action under the circumstances," she said. "These are not measures that are recommended by either the school or the school board."
Brochu said the school principal was not aware of the strip search until after the fact and stood by the teachers' decision.
"In the heat of the action, the decision seemed the best," she said. "Once officials heard what had happened, they immediately contacted the students' parents to explain the situation."
The school board didn't say whether the teachers will face disciplinary action but said "an administrative investigation is ongoing."
Students will have an option to re-take the exam, says Brochu, who admits "the climate was not conducive to a good test."
Readers were outraged and commented the teachers should lose their jobs for the egregious decision.
"ONE student MIGHT have been trying to cheat, and you strip search 28 minors because of it. The teachers should LOSE their jobs and have criminal charges brought against them. They don't have the legal right to strip search anyone. This school board spokesperson should lose her job too for being an idiot," Murray B. Wheeler wrote.
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