8th grader strip searched at suburban middle school

May 9, 2012 4:11:49 PM PDT
An eighth grade boy was forced to strip down to his underwear while officials investigated a theft at a Southwood Middle School in Country Club Hills, police say.

Parents say the incident happened late last month, but they were just told about it.

Police say $300 was missing from a graduation trip fund and school staff suspected the student had taken the money. That's when the principal ordered the eighth-grader to take off his clothes in a private room, supervised by a male teacher.

"The young man was directed to lower his pants as well as the gym shorts he was wearing. He was still wearing his underwear and those discarded garments were searched," Country Club Hills Police Chief William Brown said. "At this point, that's the information we have."

That incident took place more than a week and half ago. But parents said they just now learned of it.

"His mother is going to hit the roof when she finds out," said Althea Jenkins, grandmother, sid.

"I haven't gotten a letter from the school. I haven't heard anything about it and I'm quite upset about that," Deneen Jones, parent, said.

Country Club Hills School District 160 released a statement:

"The teacher and administrator are no longer at the school building and have no contact with students. There have been no other reports from parents or students of similar incidents involving the teacher and administrator. No criminal charges were filed."

The police chief and mayor say they learned about the strip search from the student's mother.

"I think it's the responsibility of the school to work with police department, it would have been handled more expeditiously and properly," Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch said.

"I don't care if they steal a house and put it in their pockets, that should not have happened," Jones said.

Police say the missing $300 has not been found.

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