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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.”

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16 Comments on "NC Appeals Court divided on Brunswick Co. school’s ‘bra lift’ search"

Guest 2
2015 years 8 months ago

The law is trying to save a nation of youth not destroy!
Please Home-School your child so he or she won’t provide drugs for the other students or OD at school so you can sue the school-Please be an active parent in saving our youth!

2015 years 8 months ago

School official have no business searching any student. If contraband is suspected, call the parents and let them deal with it.

2015 years 8 months ago

“According to the court of appeals, a male law enforcement officer observed the searches.” Seems the school officials contacted the right people to search for “contraband” which was drugs in this case and guess what… “There were drugs and drug paraphernalia found. One girl, who was 15 at the time, made an appeal after Percocet was found on her.”

2015 years 8 months ago

If the parents did their job in the first place, the kids probably wouldn’t be in an “alternative” school. The parents are the lsat ones that should deal with it.

2015 years 8 months ago

It is obvious that none of you work in schools. If the right to search students is taken away, then I will not allow my kids to attend. You would not believe what I have found on kids during my years in administration….knifes, pistol, PCP, LSD, Crack, deadly poisons, explosives, pronographic materials of other students…..Please don’t be stupid. Liberal freaks will destroy this country, and soon!!!!!

2015 years 8 months ago

If they call the parents, they will just hide the evidence so their kids won’t get in trouble!

This search was not invasive in any way. Have a female family member untuck their shirt and lift the bottom edge of their bra away from their body with their thumbs. Unless they have some serious problems, no body parts will be visible to anyone watching, but anything hidden in the bra will fall to the floor.

I agree that a female staff member or police officer should have been present during the search, just to protect the males from unjust accusations.

rob surf city
2015 years 8 months ago

This school approach seems much less intrusive than airport “scanning” and pat down procedures.

2015 years 8 months ago

There is a difference here. Kids have no choice but to go to school and must go by their rules. You have a choice when it comes to airport security. Choose some other mode of transportation that does not screen passengers.

2015 years 8 months ago

If this is allowed then a complete strip search will be conducted next. This is a complete invasion of privacy. Those that agree with the policy will be the first to complain when their daughters are searched.

2015 years 8 months ago

No I do not think it is unconstitutional with a BUT! When and if this happens, there should be a female present (teacher, administrator, etc) at each search. I will go as far to say there should be at least 2 people present so that accusations can’t be made of fondling, etc. The old joke is, “how can you tell a teenager is lying? Their lips are moving” fits here. Yes I know there are many teenagers out there are are straight and don’t lie, steal, cheat, etc. but unfortunately there are alot that do. Hate to tell you people, but when those kids pass through the doors of the school (which is not a social club, but a place they will hopefully get some decent education in) they give up their rights so to speak. The rights of the many outweigh the rights of a few. If this is what it takes to get these drugs off the campuses, so be it. The kids know they shouldn’t have them so they need to stop whining when they get caught. And for you whining parents that are griping about it, how much would you whine if one of these kids had a gun hidden in their bra and used it on your loved one? You would be raising hell about it.

2015 years 8 months ago

These students are here because they didn’t follow the rules at other schools….this is a very nice, state of the art school built specifically to house “alternative students”. Why keep rewarding them? If they cannot follow the freakin rules, kick’em out and let them go find jobs. Obviously drugs were found during the search and I personally see no invasion of privacy if the search was conducted as it was shown on the videos. Especially when lots of these young female students have NO trouble posing half-naked on FACEBOOK for the whole world to see!

2015 years 8 months ago

….is nothing more than a PC way of saying, “A last chance school before the criminal kids get to go to jail.” This school is a last ditch effort for kids involved in crime, gangs and drugs that just don’t give a damn. As far as I’m concerned, full body cavity searches are appropriate when the evidence exists.

I once had an evil stepson, hell-bent on being a lifetime criminal at the ripe age of 14. The judges kept giving him “opportunites” through programs such as these and even better ones that cost his mom $27,000 per year. So, guess what? He is currently a two-time, convicted violent felon with 18 additional misdemeanors, still walking among us and willing to do any crime it takes to fulfill his drug habit.

I get sick and tired of these mamby-pamby, whiney-butt parents talking about their criminal offspring having “rights” when they are on the very brink of prison because they happen to think the rules suck. It’s only due time before these young thugs get a real taste of prison where the words “privacy” and “rights” no longer apply to them.

You can teach them now, or you can teach them later. The majority of these wayward kids will never get taught at all. The real sad fact is, they didn’t get taught when they were babies by their parents.

2015 years 8 months ago

Excuse me but my son goes to this school and NEVER had any kind of discipline issues! He was there because he got held back in two grades in elementary because he was very ill as a child and missed too many days. This school is not just for bad kids, he is there to catch up, which he will now graduate a year early!

2015 years 8 months ago

a drug sniffing dog?

Gender neutral.

No doubt there is a Resource Officer on duty. Match him or her with a well trained drug sniffer.

Guest of certain requirements to be an admin.
2015 years 8 months ago

It seems that one who has been an administrator would have better spelling skills or at least enough sense to edit his remarks. These aren’t typos: they are hallmarks of the ignorant.

2015 years 8 months ago

The war on drugs has been going on for what..over 30 years? It is getting worse, not better. Legalizing certain types of drugs would pretty much solve the problem, but, too much money would be lost in fines and attorney fees. Maybe it is time for the schools to start teaching and quit worrying so much about Johnny or Alice having an aspirin in his pocket or her bra.


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