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Lawmakers propose banning strip searches across Wisconsin schools

Wisconsin State Capitol.
Posted at 8:37 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 21:37:06-04

OCONTO (NBC 26) — It has been about seven months since a high-profile incident at Suring High School where students were asked to disrobe down to their underwear while searching for vaping devices.

“I think the dignity of these young teens were violated,” said Elijah Benke, State Representative (R-Oconto).

The charges against the school’s superintendent were later dismissed.

But in wake of the incident, Republican state lawmakers have introduced a proposal to make it illegal.

“This legislation that you have all been provided a copy of is our first step, our first draft in how we can ensure that the students, our children who are at our public schools around the state can feel safe. Their parents can feel reassured that they’re in a situation that is appropriate,” said David Steffen, State Representative (R-Howard).

Under current law, it’s a misdemeanor for a school or school district official to search a student's private area. The Oconto County Sheriff Todd Skarban was also in attendance at the announcement backing up the bill.

“That's very impactful for us, clear, common sense laws is very impactful for us,” said Sheriff Todd Skarban.

But one local woman we talked to said while she’s glad these lawmakers are stepping up to make change, she still thinks more needs to be done.

“I asked if there was a way to put in there that parents need to be notified the minute something happens and not after the fact,” said Linda Sheve, a community member.

The bill introduced is a preliminary draft.

It would be ready for legislation until early next year.