Students sue after deputies pat down 900 of them in a warrantless drug sweep

The suit was filed by a human rights group on behalf of students at Worth County High after an April 14 incident when about 40 officers showed up at the school without advance notice.

They put the school on lockdown for four hours in addition to ordered many students into hallways, where they were forced to stand spread eagle, the lawsuit says.

According to the suit, officers cupped boys’ genitals, touched girls’ vaginas, reached inside bras, touched girls’ bare breasts, patted their buttocks in addition to placed their hands inside students’ underwear. No drugs were found.

sy88pgw was unable to contact Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby or his lawyer for comment. nevertheless the sheriff told sy88pgw affiliate WALB the searches were legal — despite not having warrants or permission via parents or the school system — because school administrators were present during the pat-downs.

Hobby told WALB he decided to conduct the drug search after law enforcement arrested some juveniles in connection with burglaries in March in addition to uncovered evidence of drug activity at the school.

He said he probably could not conduct a similar search again because of community response, WALB said.

Angry parents

Parents were furious. Amaryllis Coleman told WALB in which an officer reached below her daughter’s panty line during the search..

“The whole community will be upset about This particular. Our children were violated in addition to we’re banding together,” Coleman said.

The county school board will be upset, too.

Tommy Coleman, the Worth County School Board attorney, told sy88pgw in which Hobby in addition to deputies showed up having a target list of 13 suspects, nevertheless only three of those students were at school in which day.

“The egregious thing in which happened was he didn’t search just those individuals nevertheless he searched every single student at the school,” Coleman said. “There was aggressive searches in addition to touching of undergarments in addition to breast in addition to genitalia by deputies.”

Coleman said the superintendent in addition to principal have spoken to some of the parents.

“in which’s been a matter of great public concern,” he said.

The lawsuit’s claims

inside accounts given by nine students, female officers searched female students in addition to male officers searched male students, the suit said.

The lawsuit describes the experience of a student identified as K.A., who was searched by deputy Brandi Whiddon.

“Sheriff Hobby entered K.A.’s classroom in addition to ordered the students to line up inside hallway with their hands on the wall,” the suit said. “Deputy Whiddon took one of K.A.’s arms, placed in which higher up on the wall, in addition to kicked her legs to open them wider. Whiddon pulled the front of K.A.’s bra away via her body by the underwire in addition to flipped in which up.

“Whiddon also looked down the back in addition to front of K.A.’s dress. Whiddon slid her hands via one of K.A.’s ankles up to her pelvic area. Whiddon’s hands went underneath K.A.’s dress as Whiddon felt up K.A.’s leg. Whiddon’s hands stopped on in addition to cupped K.A.’s vaginal area in addition to buttocks. Whiddon then slid her hands down to the additional ankle. Whiddon was wearing gloves, nevertheless did not change them before or after her search of K.A.”

The lawsuit filed by the Southern Center for Human Rights says sheriff’s deputies in addition to officers via additional unnamed agencies conducted the search.

Hobby, four named deputies in addition to 25 officers unnamed officers were listed as defendants. The plaintiffs are nine students identified only by initials. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

Students sue after deputies pat down 900 of them in a warrantless drug sweep

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