Suring Superintendent Charged with 6 Counts of False Imprisonment for Strip Search

Suring School District Superintendent Kelly Casper had the female students strip down to their underwear and searched them for vape products.

Suring Superintendent Charged with 6 Counts of False Imprisonment for Strip Search

(Photo: hafakot, Adobe Stock)

SURING, Wis. — The superintendent of the Suring School District has been charged with six counts of false imprisonment related to the strip search of students back in January.

Investigators said Superintendent Kelly Casper, 51, directed six girls between the ages of 14 and 17 into a small bathroom off the nurse’s office and asked them to strip down to their underwear to be searched for vape devices, reports WEAU. The school nurse accompanied Casper during the search.

According to the criminal complaint, the first student to be searched said Casper slid her hands down her legs and bottom, and that an empty vape cartridge fell out of her bra when she bent down to pick up her shoes. In subsequent searches, Casper allegedly checked the girls’ bras more thoroughly. The girls were reportedly told to lift or pull their bras away from their bodies, exposing their breasts.

Casper said she was not trained to do any type of feeling or patting in a search but provided the investigator with certificates showing different training she attended through the years, according to Yahoo. Through the training, Casper told investigators she learned about where students often hide items, how to properly question students, and the requirement to have a second person assist in a search.

The nurse who assisted Casper told investigators that the superintendent was not demeaning or mean to the students and that none of them seemed bothered by the searches. The nurse added that she was probably the one that was “most comfortable” with the searches.

According to police records, the nurse had started her job the day before the searches. The day after the searches, she contacted her clinic supervisor because she was concerned the searches were inappropriate. The supervisor told the nurse the searches were improper per school district policy, that she shouldn’t talk to anyone except law enforcement about them, and that she would contact the clinic’s legal team to start an investigation.

Oconto District Attorney Edward Burke Jr. previously declined to file charges against Casper, finding the searches themselves did not meet the legal definition of a “strip search.” However, he later reviewed the state code relating to the ability of a school employee to confine a student, and determined no child was given an opportunity to leave or to contact their parents before being confined. The charges were filed on Feb. 28.

“Once the children removed their clothing, any opportunity they had to escape would have subjected them to further shame and embarrassment,” said Burke. “The only choice they were given was to have the search conducted by a police officer or Casper.”

At a meeting Wednesday night, the Suring School Board voted to place Casper on paid administrative leave, effective March 3, reports WBAY. During public comment, community members voiced their anger about the situation. Some called for Casper to be fired while others called on all members of the school board to resign.

“We will fight for every single kid who had to go through this, because it’s wrong,” said parent Tabitha School. “Every single thing that she did was wrong.”

School Board President Wayne Sleeter said it is “easily the most difficult situation” he’s ever been involved with as a board member and that the board will continue to investigate Casper’s actions.

The charge of false imprisonment is a felony that carries up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each count if convicted. Casper has a court date set for March 23.

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her family.

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