Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt:
WASHINGTON – It is reported a school nurse and vice principal at Binghamton East Middle School in New York State strip searched four African-American girls because they were acting “giddy” and authorities concluded they might be using drugs.
News flash—12-year-old girls act silly sometimes. That’s not a problem for white children, but for children of color, this normal behavior can be used to justify racist and sexist stereotypes and the most horrific invasions of privacy. Black girls are disciplined because of their hair, their clothes and the way they talk to their friends. These discriminatory steps often lead to the school-to-prison pipeline that victimizes so many African-American girls.
NOW condemns the Binghamton East Middle School’s actions, and calls on the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Tonia Thompson, to fire the nurse, assistant principal, and principal of the school, along with any other school personnel who oversaw the strip searches. Additionally, a policy that ends all school strip searches must go into effect immediately, and district employees must be required to participate in cultural competency training.
The criminalization of Black girls must stop, now!
NOW Press, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-628-8669