The Milton Hershey School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania ordered a young female student to take her shirt off. Administrators apparently conducted the strip-search because they thought the student was attempting to conceal a cell phone under her clothing–such devices are banned at the school. The girl’s mother claimed that school officials said they have every right to do this, since students do “not have Constitutional rights” in a private school.

The mother, Trina Howze, is now suing the school. Her court complaint, which named the daughter as “C.W.,” asserted that school officials “touched C.W. all over her body – including her chest – feeling for a smartphone… After the strip search, C.W., feeling violated, was visibly upset, crying and shaken.”

No phone was ultimately found on C.W.

When Howze complained to the school, they defended their actions and reportedly told her that C.W. “does not have constitutional rights because she is in a private school.” Howze claimed that she then called officers at the Derry County Police Department, who told her nothing could be done about the situation. “It is what it is, Ms. Howze,” they allegedly said.

Howze is seeking $75,000 in damages from the school, which describes itself as a “cost-free, private, coeducational home and school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students from the families of low income, limited resources and social need operating in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

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