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Routine Strip Searches

September 2, 2007 permalink

A press release from a legal advocacy group shows that strip searches of children by social workers are routine.



Liberty Counsel




Appeals Court Asked To Hold State Responsible for Illegally Strip Searching Children

Milwaukee, WI - Today Liberty Counsel filed a brief at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in a case involving a state worker who made two elementary children undress without parental consent. The case is Michael C. v. Gresbach. The eight-year-old boy, his nine-year-old sister and their parents are represented by Stephen Crampton, Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel for Liberty Counsel, and Wisconsin attorney Michael D. Dean.

The case involves Dana Gresbach, a social worker from the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare, who, acting on a tip that Michael C. had spanked one of the children with a plastic stick, decided to examine the children at a Christian school. Gresbach entered Good Hope Christian Academy and had the principal bring the children to a private room for questioning. She instructed the principal not to call their parents and would not allow the principal to observe the investigation. Gresbach then interrogated both students, forcing the boy to raise his shirt and the girl to lift her jumper and pull down her tights for a bodily examination. After the parents found out about the incident, they were furious. Gresbach closed her investigation after finding no evidence of abuse.

The trial court ruled that there was an obvious violation of the students' Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Now, Gresbach has appealed that ruling to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case involves the fundamental issue of the constitutional right of families to be free from unwarranted intrusions by government social workers who, as here, without any parental knowledge or consent, subject children to humiliating and degrading activities. The case also raises concerns about the defiance of the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare to respect basic restraints on the exercise of its enormous power. In another federal lawsuit against the same Bureau, Doe v. Heck, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that it is "patently unconstitutional" for government officials to seize a child on private school premises without a warrant or an emergency.

Stephen Crampton, Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel for Liberty Counsel, commented: "Government social workers cannot simply barge into a private school whenever they feel like it and strip search innocent children. Just like police officers, they must obtain a warrant, consent, or be acting in an emergency, before performing physical searches or other intrusive investigations."


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Source: Liberty Counsel