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    21 Feb 2015

    Family of girl strip-searched at Quebec school to sue school board: The family of a 15-year-old girl who was strip-searched at a Quebec City high school intends to take the school board to court, their lawyer says.

    The lawyer representing the family of a 15-year-old girl who was strip-searched at a Quebec City high school says they intend to take the school board to court.
    Lawyer François David Bernier says the high school misinterpreted government guidelines on searching students and humiliated his client.
    The incident sparked outrage across the country after the girl told a local paper she felt violated by the search one week ago. The school proceeded with the search after officials suspected her of selling drugs.
    The school board said in a news release that administrators at the Neufchatel high school followed government and police guidelines for conducting school strip searches.
    The government guidelines, however, do not specifically mention naked searches.
    The school said the girl was made to take off her clothes and stand behind a blanket while school officials searched her clothing.
    “In no case does the document talk about nude searches,” Bernier said. “We blame the school board because it took the government document and interpreted it erroneously.”
    Bernier said he has not officially filed any documents in court and is still evaluating the damage done to his client.
    He added that the family is not ruling out seeking punitive damages against the school and the governing board.
    The high school’s principle, Nadine Genest, said in a statement Thursday that she had “serious motives to believe the student was selling drugs in our school for several months.”
    Genest also denied reports that the girl was not permitted call her parents before the search.
    “Contrary to reports, we never at any point refused to allow the student to communicate with her mother,” Genest said.
    She added that during the strip search, school officials “had no visual or physical contact with the student.”
    Genest said the girl has been suspended and will be transferred to another school.
    Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said Thursday there was “no question” strip searches should not be allowed in Quebec schools, except under extreme circumstances.
    The government has ordered an independent expert to look into two school strip-search cases recently in Quebec.

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