Federal Lawsuit Filed in Binghamton School Search Case
The Binghamton City School District now faces a lawsuit in connection with an alleged "strip search" of four girls in January.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund late Monday announced the action naming the district, the board of education and three East Middle School employees.
The lawsuit is being brought in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.
In a statement, the New York City-based organization said the action was filed on behalf of the parents whose 12-year-old daughters "were subjected to an illegal strip search" on January 15.
According to the statement, the students are black and Latina while "all of the school officials involved in the incident are white."
The complaint alleges that racial bias caused the officials "to interpret the innocent and playful behavior" of the girls "as so suspicious that they conducted the extreme measure of strip searching them."
School district officials last week did not respond to requests to comment on the status of reviews that had been conducted in the case. The district previously issued a statement indicating an internal investigation "found no evidence that a strip search was conducted" by school employees.
Governor Cuomo ordered New York State Police and the state Education Department to investigate what happened at the school. Since issuing the order, Cuomo has not commented publicly on the matter.
The results of separate investigations conducted by Binghamton police and state police have been turned over to Broome County District Attorney Stephen Cornwell. He has not commented on his office's review of the incident.
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