SURING – Suring Public School District’s embattled administrator is out as of June 30, six months after she sparked outrage by strip-searching students for vaping devices.
The school board has approved a “Resignation/Separation Agreement” with Kelly Casper.
The unanimous approval of the agreement is listed in the minutes of a June 8 board meeting, near the end of a list of motions to hire other staff.
Casper, who had served as superintendent for eight years, was put on administrative leave March 2 after she forced six students to strip to their underwear in January so she could search them for vaping products. Casper then patted them down.
Her administrative leave began four days after Casper had been charged with six counts of false imprisonment, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of six years.
However, Brown County Judge Marc Hammer dismissed the charges at a hearing on June 21. About 50 of Casper's supporters, many from the Coleman district where she resides and served as a principal, attended the hearing and applauded the decision.
The incident and charges brought widespread attention to the small, rural district, generating news coverage throughout Wisconsin and on the Law & Crime website. Meanwhile, Suring school board meetings drew crowds of local parents and residents who opposed the student searches.
According to the complaint in the now-dismissed criminal case, the school nurse said Casper told the students she didn’t want to search them but did because they were heading toward dangerous behavior
The nurse told an investigator that Casper talked to each of the girls, telling them they were "better than this," they were "making bad choices," and that she "really cared about them" and their future.
District Attorney Edward Burke declined in February to file charges over the searches themselves, saying they did not violate the law because the youths’ private areas were not exposed. But Burke said he believed the false imprisonment charges were justified because the students were confined to a bathroom.
Still unresolved is a notice of claim filed against the district on behalf of five students and their parents who believe the searches were illegal. Madison attorney Jeff Olson filed the notice in February, contending that an investigation would reveal that Casper and the school nurse violated a state law that protects students from strip searches by school employees.
Under state law, anyone who wants to sue a government entity or its employees must first file such a claim. The public entity then has 120 days to reject the claim, which could then trigger a lawsuit seeking damages.
Minutes of the school board meeting do not indicate any action taken by the board on the notice.
School board President David Lally has not yet responded to phone, email and text messages from the Oconto County Reporter requesting further information.
Todd Carlson, a former superintendent for Shawano and Gillett who was named interim administrator on March 9, also could not be reached for further information.
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Contact Kent Tempus at (920) 431-8226 or email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Suring school superintendent resigns in wake of student strip searches