SAINT-JEROME, QC – A school board north of Montreal has launched an internal investigation after school staff strip searched 28 high school students to find a cellphone during a year-end exam.
The board admits that staff at Cap-Jeunesse high school in Saint-Jerome, QC, “lacked judgment” for asking 28 Grade 10 students to remove their clothes when a phone went missing last week.
The students were ordered to put their phones on a teacher’s desk to prevent cheating during a math exam but one phone was unaccounted for, prompting teachers to order the strip search.
“They put us in a small room,” one teenage girl, who didn’t give her name, told QMI Agency. “(They said) ‘take off your bra, then raise your arms.’ They even tapped us on the back.”
School board spokeswoman Nadyne Brochu admits the teachers went too far.
“It was a disproportionate action under the circumstances,” she said.
“These are not measures that are recommended by either the school or the school board.”
Brochu said the school principal was not told about the decision to conduct the strip search.
“In the heat of the action, the decision seemed the best,” she said. “Once officials heard what had happened, they immediately contacted the students’ parents to explain the situation.”
The board didn’t say if the teachers will face disciplinary action, saying only that “an administrative investigation is ongoing.”
Students will have an option to re-take the exam, says Brochu, who admits “the climate was not conducive to a good test.”