Strip-searched girl suspended by Quebec City school
De la Capitale School Board says it suspects 15-year-old of trafficking drugs
A Quebec City school board says that the 15-year-old girl who was strip-searched by her female high school principal and another female staff member has been suspended and transferred to another school.
Nadine Genest, the principal at Neufchâtel High School, said in a statement Thursday the school had reason to believe the student "was trafficking drugs in our school for several months."
The De la Capitale School Board, which released the statement, did not explain the exact reason for her suspension.
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In the strip search, the girl was asked to remove all her clothing, including her underwear. No drugs were found.
The school board defended the practice, saying it followed strict guidelines drafted in 2010 by the province with the help of police.
Genest said there was no "visual or physical contact with the student" during the search, and it was only done so that they could search her clothes.
Girl's family planning lawsuit
Meanwhile, the girl’s mother said the family has felt traumatized by the incident and has hired a lawyer.
The mother said she was particularly upset about not being called before — or after — her daughter was strip-searched.
She said her daughter's requests to call home were twice denied.
The school board said that is not true.
"Contrary to what the mother said, we did offer the student the chance to call her mother, but she refused to make the call," said Marie-Elaine Dion of the De la Capitale School Board.
The family's lawyer said he will file a lawsuit alleging the province misinterpreted a 1998 Supreme Court decision involving the drug search of a student in Nova Scotia when it formulated its search policy.
Premier limits strip searches
In response to the controversy, Premier Philippe Couillard announced Thursday there would be no more strip searches in schools, except in extreme cases where police deem it necessary.
After taking heat from the public, however, Bolduc altered his stance and said he was concerned by the turn of events.
Bolduc said Wednesday the government has asked an independent person from outside the school board to look into what happened.
In the statement released Thursday, the De la Capitale School Board said it would co-operate fully with the investigation.