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LAWNDALE : No Criminal Charges in School Strip Search

January 27, 1994

Two teacher's aides at a Lawndale school who strip-searched students in December looking for a teacher's missing $400 will not face criminal charges, the district attorney's office said this week.

The aides exercised "extremely poor judgment" in conducting the search of 15 students at Will Rogers Intermediate School, but did not inflict sufficient mental suffering to warrant criminal charges, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Monica Blodgett.

Ten boys and five girls were searched Dec. 13 after a field trip to the Galleria at South Bay in Redondo Beach, part of a consumer math lesson. The boys had to remove their clothes in front of a male aide during the search, Blodgett said, and the girls were required to shake out their bras and underpants in front of a female aide.

Although the state education code prohibits strip searches, there is no criminal law specifically prohibiting them, she said.

The aides have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation by the school, said Assistant Supt. David Moorhouse.

Parents of two of the children searched have hired a lawyer, who said they will "seek appropriate compensation," but stopped short of saying a lawsuit was forthcoming.

Lawndale School District Supt. Joseph D. Condon has called the incident improper and vowed to review hiring procedures for teacher's aides.

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