Two Sante Fe, New Mexico students have filed a class-action suit charging that Santa Fe Public School officials violated their constitutional rights performing “overly intrusive” searches of the girls’ bodies at prom
“The complaint filed Tuesday notes that a female guard for Associated Security Industries, which was contracted by the district to provide security for the event, put her hands on senior Candice Herrera’s breasts and bra and also ordered the 18-year-old and her 16-year-old sister to spread their arms and legs while the guard conducted a body search.”
“Speaking with media Tuesday afternoon at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, Herrera said she felt “molested” by the guard. She said at one point she tried to move the guard’s hands away from her body, but her efforts were rebuffed.”
“The guard “proceeded to lift Candice’s dress above the middle of her thighs and examined her bare legs,” in front of other students and district personnel, according to the complaint. An embarrassed Herrera made eye contact with school Principal Melanie Romero during the search, but Romero “did not stop the search,” the document says.”
Herrera said she learned from other students that they also had similar searches.
The officials took Herrera’s nail clippers, hand lotion and prescription medicine from her before she entered the prom. When she tried to get it back after the prom, she was told it was discarded.
The superintendent, Bobbie Gutierrez, said in the past a bottle of alcohol was found strapped to a student’s leg (a la UGA games) and cigarettes were found during this year’s prom.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to do this, but we have had problems in the past with students bringing in illegal contraband to prom,” Gutierrez said. “We have to check the convention center several times during that day because alcohol gets taped to sinks in the bathrooms.”
Not that it should matter, but Herrera is a member of National Honor Society and has been honored with a scholarship from the Ronald Simon Family Foundation in 2009. She said she has never had any disciplinary problems at school.
So what do you think folks? What is a reasonable search at prom or other school events to prevent alcohol, cigarettes, guns … nail clippers (really?? Nail clippers??) from coming into the event? How would you feel about a security guard (even if it was a woman) feeling around your daughter’s dress and bra and making them pull up their dress in public to check their thighs? (I keep working on telling my 4-year-old to keep her dress DOWN! We don’t show our underwear!)
What was security like at the proms this year in Atlanta? Were students from rougher schools searched more or less thoroughly? Did your teens report any type of pat downs or actual touching for searches? Did they go through metal detectors? Or just have their purses and pockets searched?
– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania. I have increased my Twitter activity. I am sending out great stories for moms each day focusing on health, fitness, sex, entertainment, food, travel and obviously parenting! So follow me on Twitter at @AJCMOMania!)