Mother Sues Oklahoma Middle School 2 Years After Principal Conducted Illegal Strip Search of Her 14-Year-Old Daughter

An Oklahoma mother filed a lawsuit against her daughter’s middle school on March 3, roughly two years after the school’s principal conducted an illegal strip search of the then-14-year-old girl. The incident occurred on May 10, 2021 at Heartland Middle School in Edmond, OK – 20 miles from Oklahoma City. 

The lawsuit, which was filed by Kristal Trenkamp (the mother), names three defendants – the Edmond Public School District, Heartland Middle School, and the school’s principal Veronica Johnson. Trenkamp alleges that Johnson was searching for a nicotine vape on her daughter when the strip search occurred.

The strip search was conducted in a room with an ‘uncovered window’ and there was a ‘clear view’ of other general areas of the school. In addition to Johnson, there was a school resource officer (SRO) and a second student present in the room. According to the lawsuit, no nicotine vape pen was found. 

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The lawsuit also explains that, while searching for the alleged vape, Johnson asked Trenkamp’s daughter to lift her shirt high enough to expose her bra and spin. Johnson then asked the 14-year-old girl about her undergarments before completing the strip search – which was both embarrassing and against the law. 

Trenkamp Seeking $25,000 in Damages Due to Illegal Strip Search

The Trenkamp family is seeking $25,000 in damages and are being represented by Shelby Shelton, who revealed that they do have bodycam footage of the incident from the school resource officer. While the school initially refused to provide the footage, it was eventually released via a public records request. 

The lawsuit cites ‘intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, sexual assault, and violating the Fourth Amendment’ – which protects all persons against unreasonable searches. While the school district is allowed to search a student with reasonable suspicion, strip searches are strictly prohibited. 

According to an Oklahoma statute, which was cited in the lawsuit, the school is prohibited against removing or asking to remove the clothing of students – except cold weather outerwear – unless a legal warrant is presented. Shelton is astounded that a strip search was even necessary, given the situation.

“There’s no guns or knives or anything dangerous, let alone, even if they had a vape pen, which they didn’t, there’s no immediate threat to anyone’s safety. And they did all of this without contacting anybody’s parents,” said Shelton. It’s also important to note that a metal detector wand was used prior to the search.

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In the wake of the incident, Kristal Trenkamp removed her daughter from the school and enrolled her in an online school – they now hope to move out of the district. While numerous outlets have reached out to Veronica Johnson and the Edmond Public Schools district, neither have yet to comment on the

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