The Iowa A.C.L.U. is filing an open records lawsuit to force the Atlantic School District to reveal the punishment given two school officials who conducted a strip search of five high school girls last August. A.C.L.U. executive director, Ben Stone, says the school did identify the individuals involved, but never released their punishment.
Stone says,”We feel it’s important to not allow any school district to conceal the consequences…for people who violate the law,and so we feel we need to pursue a court case to force the Atlantic school system to reveal the discipline, if any that was given out to the school officials who did this search.”
Atlantic assistant principal/activities director Paul Croghan resigned in November, and was one of the two employees identified by the district. The other employee was identified as Heather Turpen, but nothing was said about their punishment. Stone says there have been reports of people resigning, but nothing officially, and he says they want to know what exactly was done for those who engaged in the strip search.
He says they need to see the punishment to know if the district took the issue seriously. Stone says it is a balancing act to allow some personnel information to remain concealed, versus the public’s right to know. “We think in this case that the public interest in seeing that government officials are held accountable for violating a law like the strip search prohibition would be a more important piece of information than the plain privacy interest of the people that have been disciplined,” Stone says.
The girls were strip searched in a locker room on August 21st after $100 was reported by a classmate.