LAWSUIT: 22 girls in Lanier Middle School choir class strip searched over $50

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Civil lawsuit claims 22 Lanier Middle School students were strip searched
Civil lawsuit claims 22 Lanier Middle School students were strip searched

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A federal civil rights lawsuit over the alleged strip-searching of a sixth-grade class during the 2012-2013 school year will continue after the Fifth Circuit court of appeals reversed an earlier court's dismissal of the case.

Two mothers of students filed the suit that accuses the school of taking their daughters and others in a choir class into a bathroom and strip-searching them for $50 that went missing during class.

According to the suit, 22 students were in the choir class in Lanier Middle School when a student claimed that their money disappeared. A school administrator came in to investigate and looked through backpacks, but still couldn't find the money.

A school police officer was brought in. He "suggested that girls like to hide things in their bras and panties," the suit alleges.

The nurse then searched the girls, the suit claims. No parents were notified and the girls said they didn't want to participate, the suit said.

"The search included checking around the waistband of the girls' panties, under their shirts, and loosening their bras," according to the lawsuit. "According to the victims, they were made to lift their shirts so they were exposed from the shoulder to the waist."

The missing money was never found.

The original lawsuit was filed in 2014, alleging the girls' civil rights had been denied. The district court threw the lawsuit out, saying the suit "failed to make a claim."

Last week, the Fifth Circuit overturned that and remanded it back to the lower courts.

"The school district respects the Fifth Circuit's ruling and is determining next steps," an HISD spokesperson added in a comment, saying there was nothing further it could say about the incident.