Parents are furious with administrators at a public school in Gustine, Texas, after learning that their kids were subjected to a partial strip-search and a humiliating, feces-related inspection.
School officials at Gustine Elementary routinely find that the gym floor has been smeared with human waste, and in an effort to unmask the culprit they went way too far. Boys were sent to one room, girls to another—and then administrators ordered both groups to pull down their pants. One parent told myfox8.com that the officials were checking "to see if they could find anything," pertaining to the crime, which obviously implies a significant breach of the students' privacy, let alone basic dignity.
Indeed, 11-year-old Eliza Medina told local reporters that she felt violated, but didn't have a choice in the matter: "I felt uncomfortable and I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to, but I had to because all the kids had to."
The district superintendent has called these actions "not appropriate" and promised an investigation. He did clarify, however, that the kids only had to drop trow a little.
Medina claimed it was more than a little: "To like, where your butt is."
While the specific details of this story are uniquely disgusting—as far as I can recall—there's nothing unusual about a public school treating its students like inmates rather than autonomous human beings. Zero tolerance rules have gradually promoted a school environment where young people's fundamental rights are routinely disrespected. And every day brings more stories of kids who were abused by school authorities for inoffensive behavior, pointless adherence to protocol, or artistic expression.
Shouldn't parents have the right to make a different choice for their kids? To select an educational path that nurtures, rather than dehumanizes, their children? Or, at the very least, to pick a school not run by Guantanamo Bay prison guards?
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