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A Binghamton school has been upended by protests after allegations that four Black 12-year-olds were strip-searched at local middle school. The students were searched for drugs, according to reports, by a school nurse and the assistant principal, after appearing “hyper and giddy” during lunch.

A heated community meeting questioned why the school, East Middle School had not done anything after the search was reported.

The school did issue a statement, according to Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin, who reported the story.  

Last week, a concern regarding our procedures and application of student searches was brought to the district’s attention. The concern was immediately investigated. Unfortunately, our students shared that these actions have had the unintended consequences of making the students feel traumatized. We sincerely apologize for the impact this has had and are working with these families to support their children’s success.

Students are protected by the Constitution from unreasonable searches and seizures. A student may, under current law and policy, be searched in a school building by an administrator when the administrator reasonably suspects that a student’s health is in danger or is in possession of a substance that may harm themselves or others. These searches involve an administrator requesting a student to empty their pockets, remove their shoes and/or remove their jackets.

School administrators will be gathering to review existing procedures. The resulting regulations, which will ensure safety and personal integrity of all of our students, will be communicated to our families. Additionally, the district’s current Board Policy will move forward for review. We appreciate everyone’s support in ensuring a safe community.

The area’s NAACP chapter has demanded that the administrators involved be removed and that the families and girls receive an apology. The school board told the community during the heated meeting that those were “personnel matters.”

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