SURING — The school nurse who helped strip search Suring High School students for vaping devices contacted her supervisor the next day because she was concerned the searches were improper, records show of the font.
The nurse told investigators she contacted her supervisor, a nurse at an unnamed clinic, on January 19 because she was concerned about research she had been helping Suring School District Superintendent Kelly Casper, to be performed the day before, according to reports from the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office obtained by USA TODAY NETWORK -Wisconsin through an open records request.
Suring High School administrators have not yet responded to a call for comment.
According to police reports, the school nurse, who was involved in the strip search of students at Suring Secondary School, started her job the day before the search and was not given any papers or advice on how to do his job.
The name of the clinic and the supervisor were redacted, whitewashed, in reports released by the sheriff’s office.
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The supervisor told the nurse that the searches were not in accordance with school district policy and that she should not tell anyone except law enforcement, according to police reports. The supervisor told the school nurse that she would contact the clinic’s legal team and begin an investigation.
Suring School District policy states that “under no circumstances will a school official strip search a student.” State law states that any officer, employee, or agent of a school district who conducts a strip search is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.
The school nurse said she did not tell anyone, including her family, about what happened, according to police reports.
Police documents also revealed that Casper told officers that she had undergone training in finding students and was taught “never to touch a child, never to look at a child if he is naked”. Casper said the research she helped conduct in January was her first at Suring. She estimated that she had already searched 20 students while working for the Coleman School District, her former employer.
Casper, according to police records, said Suring Police Chief Kevin Schneider was called to search for male students suspected of vaping.
Suring High School Principal Zachary Beeksma told officers he had a problem with middle school girls vaping on January 19 and a female officer from the Gillett Police Department came to the school, and she made a “touch”.
The students’ parents say the district never gave them advance notice of the strip searches, and several have since hired a civil attorney.
The school nurse told investigators that shortly after she started working at Suring High School on January 17, Casper came into her office and said “I’m going to have to search the girls” and asked the nurse if she would be able to help and certify that she did not touch any student.
The next day, Casper began calling students to the district office to be searched. According to police reports, the nurse stood outside a bathroom in the nurse’s office while Casper searched the girls one by one for vapes. The girls told investigators that the nurse stood by the door while Casper conducted the search.
Oconto County District Attorney Edward D. Burke Jr. decided not to charge administrators with a felony earlier this month, saying state law was not broken because no private part had been exposed.
However, police reports show that at least one student said she was forced to remove her bra from her body while Casper searched for her for vapes.
Casper told investigators the nurse made a girl remove her bra from her body. Casper couldn’t remember which student it was, but said there was only one student, and it was the nurse who told them to pull their bras up. outside and not upwards.
Casper’s statement is at odds with the student’s version of events, who told investigators that Casper told her to lift her bra and her breasts were exposed. The girl told investigators that two of her friends had been forced to do the same thing.
A statement released by Burke earlier this month says Casper and the nurse, both women, searched six female students for vape cartridges on January 17 and 18. Casper made the female students strip down to their underwear and searched them.
Burke said the searches did not meet the definition of a strip search under state law because the students’ private parts were not exposed to Casper and the nurse.
Burke did not deny the incident occurred, only that it did not meet the legal definition of a strip search.
“I think the charging decision with respect to what I had was fair enough because it didn’t meet the statutory criteria for a strip search,” Burke said in an interview Monday. “You can call it a strip search based on facts alone – common sense would say that. But the law and common sense are sometimes very far apart.”
Suring Secondary School principal Zachary Beeksma also started working for the district shortly before the raids. He started in early January after working as a teacher at Nathan Hale High School in West Allis, according to police records.
Contact Jake Prinsen at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @PrinsenJake.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Suring High School nurse raises concerns over strip searches of students