Published in the Courier News, Saturday, May 16, 2009, page A-8
Guard who searched student suspended
By MARK SPIVEY
PLAINFIELD -- A female security guard at the city high school has been suspended after she strip-searched a 15-year-old female student who was falsely accused of stealing a cell phone, school and police officials said.
Police launched an investigation into the incident shortly after it happened on May 8, according to Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig, who said authorities determined no touching or sexual gratification was involved and, therefore, no criminal charges are pending. But Hellwig said he supported the school district's decision to suspend the guard, callin the situation "an overstepping of her bounds."
"Although it's not criminal, it's certainly an intolerable action," Hellwig said.
Schools Superintendent Steve Gallon III said the guard said the guard was suspended with pay immediately after the incident being reported, and added that a final decision on further action will be takend after school officials have an opportunity to review reports from police and the state division of Youth and Family Services, which conducted its own review.
Gallon said that based on preliminary assessments of the matter, he is recommending that the guard, whom he declined to be identified, be terminated.
"This allegation is something we take very seriously," Gallon said. "These alleged actions were taken outside any current appropriate procedures employ in regard to student safety."
Gallon said school officials have offered the student their support.
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- Plainfield resident since 1983. Retired as the city's Public Information Officer in 2006; prior to that Community Programs Coordinator for the Plainfield Public Library. Founding member and past president of: Faith, Bricks & Mortar; Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield; and PCO (the outreach nonprofit of Grace Episcopal Church). Supporter of the Library, Symphony and Historic Society as well as other community groups, and active in Democratic politics.