BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A State Court of Appeals has reviewed the legality of personal searches on students. In 2008, the Brunswick County Academy required a "bra-lift" search on its female students, which some say is unconstitutional. According to a ruling by the court of appeals today, the “bra-lift” search at the alternative school was degrading, demeaning and highly intrusive.
“I don't even do that in front of my friends,” said Alyssa Cruz, a Brunswick County resident. “I don't even do that in front of my family. Why would I do that in front of some total stranger?”
On November 5, 2008 school officials at Brunswick County Academy required female students to untuck their shirts and pull their bras out with their thumbs so anything hidden inside would fall out.
“I wouldn't want to be violated like that even if I did just have to untuck my shirt and lift my bra,” said Cruz. “That's still really awkward for anybody.”
The state court ruled 2-1 Tuesday that the school overstepped when it required the “bra-lift” search. However, some say if drugs were a serious problem, the search may have been necessary.
“If you're trying to do the best for the children involved, not only for that person but also for also the other kids, sometimes those searches are necessary,” said Barbara Rainis, who lives in Brunswick County.
School officials were reportedly tipped off about girls hiding drugs in their bras, but were unsure about any particular girls involved.
According to the court of appeals, a male law enforcement officer observed the searches. Folks in Brunswick County had mixed reactions.
“I mean, they could've at least got a female teacher to go in and watch over the girls, not a male officer,” said Cruz.
“I think it can be done,” said Rainis. “You have male nurses and female nurses. Usually you try and pair them up but in different circumstances you may not be able to.”
There were drugs and drug paraphernalia found. One girl, who was 15 at the time, made an appeal after Percocet was found on her.
In a statement from superintendent Edward Pruden, he says,” Brunswick County Schools appreciates the guidance of the court. We will conform our procedures with the law.”