Mother says her 8th grade daughter was strip-searched by school for vape pen
DETROIT (FOX 2) - The family of an eighth-grade Detroit girl is suing her school-- after they say she was inappropriately searched for a vape pen.
"The only thing she kept telling me was mom I thought I was going to get in trouble," said Yvette Dinwiddie.
The mother is speaking out with her attorney in hopes that no other child has to suffer the same fate as her daughter.
"We allege in the lawsuit that the school administration strip-searched Ms. Dinwiddie's eighth-grade daughter while looking for a vape pen," said Attorney Hannah Fielstra.
The child’s mom says it happened at George Crockett Academy. The vape pen was alleged to be in her child’s underwear.
"She was embarrassed - excuse me guys - she was on her cycle," said Dinwiddie.
The mother said she was never contacted by the school to do a search, or that her child might have a vape pen.
"They could have called me, and especially before the strip thing," her mother said. "If she was smoking I should be the first one to know."
The lawsuit claims the school leader authorized two staff members to strip-search the girl after already searching her backpack, locker, and coat jacket, and not finding anything.
The attorney also says the school told the mom this about the search:
"That her daughter voluntarily removed pieces of her clothing to prove her innocence which is untrue," said Fielstra.
The complaint also states Dinwiddie’s child was the victim of bullying, something the school was aware of and the student who made the vape allegations had been at odds with her daughter.
"You (are) letting these kids go around bully each other, fight each other, lie on each other - that's dangerous," Dinwiddie said.
After the strip search was conducted, a vape pen was never found and the student was not disciplined.
Dinwiddie says she has filed a police report and pulled her daughter and other children from the school.
"They not going back there," she said. "I don't even trust them."
FOX 2 contacted the Leona Group which manages the charter school and was told that due to legal privacy, there would be no comment
This mom and her attorney say the lawsuit it’s necessary, so others can learn from this lesson.
"It’s important for the school and the staff to know the bounds of the Fourth Amendment and what type of searches are permissible under those types of circumstances," said the attorney. "Because in this case, a strip search was not permissible."
Mom Yvette Dinwiddie, left, and attorney Hannah Fielstra