Wisconsin’s Suring Schools superintendent Kelly Casper has been charged with false imprisonment after allegedly forcing six female students to strip down to their underwear while she searched for vapes.
According to the criminal complaint, Casper, 51, and the school nurse confined the girls in a bathroom for the search on January 18.
Police initially declined to press charges claiming that the school official’s actions did not qualify as an illegal “strip search.”
“Oconto County District Attorney Edward Burke Jr. said the initial investigation focused on the search of the students and not their confinement,” the Associated Press reports.
Burke pointed out that the students were not even allowed to call their parents during the incident.
“Upon their review, the state found that Casper lacked legal authority to confine the students in a small restroom in the school complex,” Burke said in a statement. “The state also found that the students did not consent to being confined, nor were they given the opportunity to leave or contact their parents.”
According to the probable cause statement, Investigator Troy Sherman stated that on February 2, 2022, he received a phone call from an upset parent saying that her freshman daughter was subjected to a “strip search” at the Suring High School. The parent said that Casper and the school nurse had her daughter go into the nurse’s bathroom and take off “all her clothes.”
Investigator Sherman asked the parent if her daughter had to take off her bra and underwear during the search. The parent said that her daughter did not take off her underwear or bra, but that Casper “touched her daughter’s butt.”
The student also alleged that while she was in the bathroom, Casper stood in the doorway looking at her.
According to the documents, after having the student remove her shirt, Casper told her to take off her pants, which were leggings. The student claimed she did not have underwear on and that she has “PTSD from past trauma” involving people telling her to take her clothes off. The superintendent said that she would “pat her down” instead.
However, the student says Casper “started at the waistband of her leggings and slid her hand down her leg to her knee/calf area.”
“Superintendent Casper then walked behind her and placed her hands on her waist just below the waistband on her leggings then she slid her hand down ‘over her butt’ then continued down to the back part of her leg by her knee. PUPIL 1 then stated while Superintendent Casper was checking her legs the first time she ‘cupped her hand around her thighs’,” the document says. “PUPIL 1 stated Superintendent Casper never moved her hands ‘upward’ towards her private areas just downward along her thighs.”
The other girls recounted similar stories about their experiences. Only one other student was allowed to keep her pants on after protesting.
“In the subsequent searches, Casper checked the other bras more carefully. The complaint states the girls were told to lift or pull their bras away from their bodies, while one student claimed that her breasts were exposed,” the Green Bay Press Gazette reports.
The nurse had only started working at the school the day before the incident and contacted her supervisor the day after the searches. She told them that she was concerned Casper’s actions were inappropriate, according to police records.
The superintendent is charged with six counts of false imprisonment. If she is convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of six years in prison on each count -, a $10,000 fine, or both.
Casper is scheduled to appear in court on March 23.
Timcast has reached out to the Suring School District for comment and will update this story if one is provided.