The good guys won one in East Stroudsburg
On March 19, 1996, government employees herded fifty-nine sixth-grade girls into a room, forced them to strip and forced them to submit to genital exams. The girls were scared. Some girls were crying and tried to leave, but one government employee blocked them from leaving. At least one girl asked if she could call her mother before she was subjected to this violation but they refused her request.
Where could something like this happen? Was it in some third world dictatorship, or some backward society where girls are considered chattel?
No, this happened in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania!
The girls were students at J.T. Lambert Intermediate School. School officials herded them into the school nurse’s office. They were forced to undress by these school
employees and then forced to submit to genital exams preformed by a female pediatrician.
After parents complained, the school investigated, and claimed the exams involved “no improprieties”. The school district stood behind these actions. The school district claimed they sent home notices that they intended to preform “physical examinations” on the children.Outraged parents sued. With the help of The Rutherford Institute, an international legal and educational organization dedicated to preserving human rights and defending civil liberties, the parents set out to seek justice. It was a long and difficult battle.
The parents showed that the notice did not explain that “physical examinations” included gynecological exams. The jury hearing the case decided that the school did not have parental permission when it forced the students to submit to genital exams. Following this finding, the judge in the case found that the school engaged in an “unreasonable search” of the young girls thus violating their Fourth Amendment rights.
Subsequently, the jury awarded the girls $60,000.00 in damages. Finally, last month, September 1999, three years and six months after the incident, the girls and their families got some justice.
Of course the bureaucrats who perpetrated this atrocity do not have to pay this. The taxpayers of the school district do. According to Mr. Steven H. Aden, Esq., Chief Litigation Council for The Rutherford Institute, “the jury verdict was against the school district.”
When asked what happened to the doctor who took part in this horrible incident Mr. Aden said: “The doctor who examined the girls was dismissed from the case by mutual consent of the parties.”
Considering what was done to these girls the award seems very small. A young girl’s first gynecological examination is an unpleasant experience under the best of circumstances. Most parents give a great deal of thoughtful consideration to choosing the doctor who will preform the examination. They then spend time carefully and lovingly preparing their child for the experience.
The school officials treated these children like cattle or some other form of livestock. Their treatment bordered on assault and could scar the girls for years. They were violated.
Asked if the verdict included any assurances that the school district will not engage in this type of conduct again, Mr. Aden said: “You don’t get an assurance like that in a jury award. The signal is clear to them, and other school districts, that they cannot get away with this type of action. The school district is no longer doing business with the doctor and we haven’t heard of any more actions like this. This is a solid victory for parents and students across the country.”
That is probably true. These bureaucrats may not do this again and others may think twice about doing anything similar.
Still, one is left to wonder when something like this will happen again. The fact that the school district squandered tax dollars to defend this abomination in court, shows that they never figured out that this was wrong.
The whole incident reeks of the elitist attitude prevalent in so much of government today. The attitude is that parents cannot be trusted to be responsible for their children’s education so why should they be expected to be responsible for their children’s health?
The political class believes education is too important to entrust to parents. They think the village must take over and see to it they turn the children into good citizens of the village.
This is the same attitude demonstrated when Bill Clinton says taxpayers cannot be trusted to properly handle a tax decrease. It is the attitude that government must be the nanny of the people.
As long as we allow this attitude to flourish at all levels of government, we will face this type of atrocity. That attitude will flourish as long as people look to government to provide them with services they should be providing for themselves.
This time the good guys won. Next time, who knows which side will win.