Student claims school officials forced him to 'strip'
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (WSVN) -- The family of a South Florida teen is demanding answers from school officials who allegedly forced him to strip down to his underwear while searching for a live snake a fellow student had brought to class.
"It was pretty humiliating because I had to take off my pants in front of all my friends and peers," said the 17-year-old student at Miami Sunset Senior High School.
The incident occurred Thursday during an honors English class with a substitute teacher. The teen said the teacher, fearful of the snake, went to get school administration and lined up the students in order to search for the reptile, which had gone missing.
It was at that point that the student, who asked 7News to withhold his name, claims school officials made him strip down to his boxers in front of his male classmates. "First of all, they had him drop his pants to his ankles, they patted his ankles, then grabbed his boxer shorts and started shaking him," said David Kubiliun, an attorney hired by the teen's family. "They have no right to lay a hand on him without any parental consent," he added.
"It's appalling," said Albert Scaletti, the boy's father. "How can somebody accuse a child that's in a classroom with good children, and has good grades-- everybody who knows him loves him-- take that course of action over a pet?"
The student said he had nothing to do with the 12-inch, non-venomous boa that another student had brought to class. "They had the guys come back in the classroom and said they were going to start strip-searching us," he said.
"It's completely humiliating for the child and unwarranted," said Kubiliun. "It's not like they were searching for guns or weapons or drugs, for that matter."
The student said he was the only one who stripped down to his underwear because the classmate who was hiding the snake stepped forward before the search could continue. The snake was eventually found.
"He doesn't want to go back to school," said Scaletti about his son. "I had forced him to go back to school."
Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson John Schuster released a statement that reads, "School administrators were advised that a student was in possession of a live snake and several students were questioned. A parent complained of improper procedures, and the district is looking into the matter."
School officials said the faculty had the responsibility to find the snake. They claim they did not know whether or not the animal was venomous.
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