Quebec Education Minister Yves Bolduc defended strip searches of students suspected of concealing drugs as long as it’s done respectfully.
“It is permitted to do strip searches, on one condition: it must be very respectful, ” he said at the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Bolduc’s statement is in response to the recent strip searching of a 15-year-old student at Neufchâtel High School in Quebec City who was suspected of selling marijuana to her friend.
The student jokingly sent a text message to her friend on Feb. 12 about selling him marijuana. Her phone was confiscated by a teacher and the text viewed by the principal. After questioning, she was escorted to a room and asked to undress behind a blanket.
The student recalls the experience as leaving her feeling “intimidated,” “violated,” “destroyed” and “ashamed.”
The Coalition Avenir Québec’s point person on education, Jean-François Roberge, called for Bolduc’s resignation on his response to the strip search.
“It was completely, completely wrong to say that it’s OK to force a teenager to get nude just because the principal thinks that maybe she has some drugs on her,” Roberge said.
Academic institutions are not only supposed to be centers of learning, but safe spaces for youth. Yet too many young women in schools today are left feeling violated by their peers and staff. Keeping schools safe for their students should be the number one priority for administration and education officials, but as this Quebec school and numerous cases regarding sexual assault in U.S. schools demonstrate, officials are failing to uphold their given expectations.