Binghamton Residents Rally Over Student Strip Searches

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BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — About 200 residents rallied Tuesday outside East Middle School in a call-out to Binghamton’s School District. The rally was a response to claims by two African-American girls and two Latina girls that staff members strip searched them a couple of weeks ago for giddiness and possibly possessing drugs.

According to district policy, strip searching is almost never justified. The district says it wasn’t a strip search. That it was a medical assessment, which, it says, is only done if there’s a clear reason to be concerned for a student’s health.

City Council members Dan Livingston and Conrad Taylor attended the rally, along with Rev. Michael Bell, pastor of the Frederick Douglass Memorial AME Zion Church in Elmira.

“We’ve been fighting this for a long time. We’ve been on this battlefield a long time, but we’re not done. Ain’t nobody gonna turn me around,” said Bell into a megaphone at the rally.

The district released a statement Tuesday saying there’s a third party conducting a review. According to the statement, the district also plans to form a committee to review district protocols which will include parents, district staffmembers and representatives from local faith communities:

BCSD Final Statement 1.29.19 by on Scribd

Correction: The original story published on Jan. 30, 2019 mistakenly said there were four African-American girls. In reality, two of the girls are African-American. Two are Latina.