Andrew Cuomo: State Police Should Investigate Alleged Strip-Search of Four 12-Year-Old Girls

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has requested that the state investigate the claims that four black girls were strip-searched at their middle school in the city of Binghamton.

The four 12-year-old girls and their parents say they were strip-searched on January 15 because school officials suspected they had drugs in them because they were acting "hyper and giddy," NBC News reported.

"The allegations that 12-year-old girls were strip-searched for drugs after being perceived as 'hyper and giddy' at a Binghamton middle school are deeply disturbing and raise serious concerns of racial and gender bias," Cuomo said in a statement on Wednesday. "Asking a child to remove her clothing—and then commenting on her body—is shaming, humiliating, traumatic sexual harassment. In New York, we have zero tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind, especially in our schools, and we stand with those who are calling for clarity on this troubling incident."

The students attend East Middle School in Binghamton, New York, according to WBNG-TV. The Binghamton City School District announced on Tuesday that it had hired a third-party firm in Syracuse to investigate the claims, according to the news station.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on to the State Education Department on Wednesday to investigate the claims that four 12-year-old girls were strip-searched at the East Middle School in Binghamton, New York (above). Screenshot/Google Maps

"This incident is also an unfortunate reminder of the urgent need to extend our nation-leading Human Rights Law Protections to public school students. This legislation, which I am once again advancing this year, will ensure that the State Division of Human Rights has the ability to investigate reports of harassment and discrimination in our schools," the statement from Cuomo read. "All students in the State of New York should have the right to pursue an education free from discrimination."

The district has denied that the girls were strip-searched and said that a medical assessment would have taken place if the girls were believed to have been on drugs, according to WBGN-TV. In a statement to WNBF-TV, the school district said they "strive for clarity and resolution" and that the district's internal investigation did not find "evidence that a strip search was conducted by the school's staff."

Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow, a local activist organization told the New York Daily News that it had pushed an investigation into the matter and is glad the governor is taking action.

"We hope this investigation unearths the pattern of black children being abused and discriminated against in our community," the group said in a statement to the publication. "This is one incident of many, and we demand justice and accountability for all the victims and their families."

Andrew Cuomo: State Police Should Investigate Alleged Strip-Search of Four 12-Year-Old Girls | U.S.