BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Fallout from allegations that four black girls were strip-searched at a Binghamton middle school continued Thursday as the New York State Police announced it would investigate the accusations.
The investigation stems from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call Wednesday for the state Education Department and the New York State Police to investigate the alleged incident.
Parents of four 12-year-old East Middle School students said their children were instructed to remove clothing in front of the school nurse and assistant principal on Jan. 15 after lunch.
One mother said her daughter was detained for an hour and nine minutes, and the search of her child happened without her knowledge or consent.
“Given the severity of the allegations and the unrest they are causing in the community, state police will thoroughly investigate this incident, in consultation with local authorities,” acting state police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said in a statement Thursday.
More: Cuomo calls on state to investigate allegation 4 black 12-year-old girls were strip searched at school
In response to the state police investigation, Christina Kunzman, communications coordinator for the district, said, “The Binghamton City School District strives for clarity and resolution. We are committed to preserving public trust, and we welcome full and objective assessments.”
More than 200 community members attended the Binghamton City School District’s board meeting Jan. 22 and demanded accountability following the allegations. The following day, the district denied a strip search had been conducted.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the district said there was “no evidence” the strip search was conducted, but that it had hired Ferrara Fiorenza PC, a third-party firm specializing in school law and employment law, to conduct a “full and objective assessment.”
More: School denies conducting strip search of four black middle school students in New York
The state police will use an investigator specially trained in interview techniques that help victims recall details of traumatic incidents. A second investigator assigned to the matter is trained to deal with child victims.
The investigation will be led by a lieutenant from the Troop C Bureau of Criminal Investigation, according to the statement.
Those assigned to this case will work in consultation with the Binghamton Police Department and Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell.
Cornwell said, “We look forward to working with our law enforcement partners, conducting a thorough investigation, and seeking justice for all involved parties.”
Follow Ashley Biviano on Twitter at @ashley_biviano.