Staff at Neufchatel High School in Quebec reportedly strip-searched a 15-year-old female student last week. They were responding to a rumor that the girl told a friend she would sell her some weed. Quebec’s Education Minister Yves Bolduc defended the practice, saying “It is permitted to do strip searches, on one condition: it must be very respectful.”
The girl reported feeling “intimidated, violated” and “ashamed.” Fortunately she, too, has her defenders. Jean-Francois Roberge, an education specialist for the Coalition Avenir Quebec, said of the incident: “It was completely, completely wrong to say that it’s OK to force a teenager to get nude just because the principal thinks that maybe she has some drugs on her,” he said. Worth repeating: this is a 15-year-old girl stripped naked to have her belongings searched by staff at a school. The Education Minister claims there is a respectful way to do that. Current guidelines require:
- A screen or cover is used to protect students if they are asked to remove their clothes.
- Only clothes are searched and not the student’s body.
- Two people must be present during the search, preferably both staff members of the same gender.
- There must be no direct contact with the student.