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Lawsuit for student strip-search dismissed

A federal judge ruled in favor of Clark County school administrators after a seventh-grade student was searched by administrators to investigate possible abuse.

Thursday, U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves granted a summary judgment in favor of Clark County Public Schools, Campbell Junior High School counselor Becca Boyd and assistant principal Kris Creteau.

In his 25-page ruling, Reeves said the defendants, student “K.K.” and her father “J.K.,” and their attorneys failed to respond to the district’s motion for a summary judgment.

The lawsuit was filed in January 2019. In the suit, the student’s father claims his daughter was strip-searched by Boyd and Creteau and that she was “severely frightened, alarmed and humiliated” by the encounter and that the search was illegal.

In his ruling, Reeves said the search was part of an investigation school administrators received that K.K. was being physically abused by her father. CCPS Director of Pupil Personnel Greg Hollon received the tip and forwarded the information to Campbell administrators to investigate.

Boyd called the student to her office, asked her about school and told her of the information. Boyd then checked the child’s arms and face.

Creteau entered the office and asked if anyone was hurting her. K.K. said no one was. Creteau told her they needed to check for bruises or cuts. The child pulled up her pants legs, then showed her stomach and back. She also complied with a request to show her thighs.

Creteau noted there were no bruises or cuts, and relayed the finding to Hollon, who told the child’s father the school was not taking any further action.

“…The means by which Boyd and Creteau decided to investigate were not beyond the bounds of decency,” Reeves wrote. “The defendants were attempting to investigate the … tip to determine whether they needed to report abuse to social services… Boyd’s office door was shut, and the window blinds were closed. Boyd and Creteau did not pull up or roll down any of K.K.’s clothes themselves, and they did not ask K.K. to fully remove any articles of clothing.”

Reeves did note the investigation may have fallen outside their authority, as there was no policy or directive to justify the search for potential abuse. District policy does allow searches of students’ clothing, pockets or personal effects unless there are reasonable grounds that a student violated or is violating school rules or law.

Reeves said the conduct was unauthorized, but dismissed a claim that Boyd and Creteau acted according to school policy or were indifferent to the results.

Reeves dismissed the case with prejudice.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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