Lawmakers propose banning strip searches in schools

A judge dismissed charges against the former Suring schools superintendent last month
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 9:01 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2022 at 6:19 PM CDT
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OCONTO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - State lawmakers are proposing legislation aimed at defining what is an illegal strip search of a student in schools.

The proposal follows a judge dismissing charges against the former Suring schools superintendent, Kelly Casper, after forcing six girls to undress to their underwear to search because they were suspected of having vaping cartridges in school.

Casper was charged with six felony counts of false imprisonment, but those charges were later dismissed without prejudice. That means a district attorney could file new or different charges. The judge ruled that the prosecution did not meet the standard of felony false imprisonment and dismissed the criminal complaint.

Lawmakers and the Oconto County sheriff unveiled the legislation Wednesday afternoon that would ban school officials from strip-searching students. They say they want to define language in an outdated state statute.

Sheriff Todd Skarban said he has a personal stake in this issue. “I get emotional about this topic, about this issue. This is my hometown. We produce leaders out of that school. My predecessors, four previous sheriffs, are from Suring.”

The lawmakers say this is about ensuring kids are safe and protected while attending Wisconsin schools. They believe the bill will get bipartisan support.

“We have some time here. Just so everyone is aware, we will not be back in session until January, so we won’t have an opportunity to actually have our hearings and pass this and have it become law until that point, which gives us some opportunity, gives us six months to communicate with the community,” Rep. David Steffen (R-Green Bay) said.

The legislation is in response to the incident in Suring where students were searched for vaping devices

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