Parents concerned over York Suburban strip search policy

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Should district administrators be able to strip search students? A search policy at a York County School District is raising concerns among parents.

On Monday York Suburban school board members voted to update and expand their search policy. What's raising some eyebrows is this part: "Searches Involving Removal Of Clothing Or Examination Beneath Clothing"

"We are a district one school, we brag about it, so there's no need for such an invasion of privacy," said Bob O'Donnell who is a concerned parent. "My daughter came home crying and said dad can you believe this?  And I said you have got to be kidding me."

The policy allows school officials to conduct strip searches of students in extreme cases, when there is a high level of danger to the school population. Searches will be conducted only after consultation with the District solicitor.

"Unless there is a clear and immediate danger to that student or other students, that student will be turned over to police and their parents," said York Suburban Superintendent Dr. Michele Merkle. Dr. Merkle said the policy is meant to protect students. "For a cigarette we are not going to strip search a student, for a cigarette tucked in their clothing. The policy defines what grave circumstances would cause such an intrusive search."

Dr. Merkle said the district is updating policies using recommendations from the Pennsylvania School Board Association. FOX43 looked into and discovered the strip search policy isn't unique to York Suburban. Other school districts such as Carlisle, Dallastown, and Northern York County have similar policies already in place.

For more information about the policy at York Suburban School District click here.

Other Districts with similar policies:
Carlisle School District policyDallastown School District policy
Northern York County School District policy


  • OneMan'sOpinion

    What if options were given to a student in a situation where a strip search was deemed necessary? ie) Allow the student to select a teacher with whom they would be at ease with conducting the search. Allow the student to opt for a parent to conduct the search or be present. Have a police officer conduct such a search. Opt to be released to a parent instead of the search.
    In other words, are there legal, less polarizing and less traumatizing ways to achieve a resolution? What do they do in hardcore alternative schools?

    • Kerri

      I’m not sure how I feel about this…I agree with oneman’s opinion but I also agree with Delanda…I still have school aged children and in one sense I think this is an invasion in a person’s privacy but on the other hand, it’s a shame that innocent people have to be subjected to this because we have seen so much evil in schools (and other places!). I also want to the kids to be safe so this just might be the only way to be sure that situations like killings do not happen – ugh but like I said – it’s a catch 22, I guess parents, children, and staff need to decide if they want to give up a little price of privacy for protection BUT at such a sensitive age this could do personal damage to “children.” I don’t know~!

  • Delanda

    I don’t care who you are that is someone’s perious body noone needs that suertly not high school student’s I think that the school board has taken it a little to far do they ever think that the parents might actually take their child out of the school for that

    • OneMan'sOpinion

      Two reasons why parents taking their students out of the public school system might be a good idea:
      1) Cyber schooling from home is a spectacular, safe, practical, cost-effective way of learning as we approach 2015
      2) If a particular student had reasonable suspicion to possibly be searched, then having the parents remove the student from the district is great.
      The down side: Students not receiving an education may avoid punctuation and use words like perious, noone and suertly.

  • Michele

    It is not the teacher who does the strip searches! Just like a doctors offices it is not done without a second witness. And it is not done unless with strong suspicion. Police are brought in to do it. When I was in school the parents were brought in also. Safety first. Metal detectors do not detect drugs! And drugs kill too!

  • Ravens Perch

    Can we say this is a bit out of control…there is only one compromise i see as viable (aside from removing this option completely) if a strip search is actually needed and that is a huge IF…a parent MUST be present and consent or it does not happen.

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