Police officers allegedly groped 900 students at a Georgia High school during an unsuccessful drug sweep that was conducted without a warrant, according to a federal lawsuit.
The suit, which was filed by a human rights group on behalf of students at Worth County High, says about 40 officers showed up unannounced at the school on April 14 and began frisking students, according to CNN affiliate KTLA5.
According to the suit, officers cupped boys' genitals, touched girls' vaginas, reached inside bras, touched girls' bare breasts, patted their buttocks and places their hands inside students' underwear.
The school was put on lockdown for four hours and students were ordered into the hallways for the search. No drugs were found.
Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby told another CNN affiliate WALB that the searches were legal because school administrators were present during the pat-downs.
Hobby said he decided to conduct the search after officers arrested some juveniles in connection with several burglaries in March and uncovered evidence of drug activity at the school.
Parents were outraged by the searches.
“The whole community is upset about this. Our children were violated and we’re banding together,” said Amaryllis Coleman. She told WALB an officer reached below her daughter's panty line.
The school board is also upset about the incident.
Tommy Coleman, the Worth County School Board attorney, told CNN that Hobby and deputies showed up with a target list of 13 suspects, but only three of those students were at school that day.
Hobby, four named deputies and 25 unnamed officers were listed as defendants. The plaintiffs are nine students identified only by initials. The suit seeks unspecified damages.