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Unlawful Maryland Strip Search Suit Settles for $285,000

Kent County, Maryland high school students Heather Gore and Jessica Bedell received a total of $285,000 and apologies in a settlement for nefarious strip searches conducted in 2004.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Dept. brought drug sniffing canines into the school in Worton, searching 12 classrooms, 250 backpacks and more than 12 students. Gore claimed that she was forced to take off her skirt, lift her shirt up and have her underwear searched. No drugs were found. Gore and Bedell brought suit represented by the Maryland Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The school board apologized and agreed to pay Gore $67,500 and Bedell $57,500. The Sheriff’s Department also apologized and paid the two a total of $160,000.

Gore, 15, said "Hopefully, this experience will help students realize that they can defend their rights." ACLU Director Deborah Jeon reported that no such searches have been performed by the school system since the 2004 occurrence. This case was filed in state court, removed to federal court and then returned to state court. See: Bedell v. Board of Education of Kent County, U.S.D.C. (D. Md.), Case No. 1:05-cv-03340-AMD.

Source: WBAL TV

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Related legal case

Bedell v. Board of Education of Kent County