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Wisconsin school leader charged for confining students

February 28, 2022 GMT

SURING, Wis. (AP) — The lead administrator of a Wisconsin public school system was charged Monday with false imprisonment after six female students said she asked them to take off some of their clothes in a search for vaping devices.

Suring Schools superintendent Kelly Casper is accused of holding the girls in a high school bathroom while she and the school nurse asked them to strip to their underwear in most cases, according to court documents.

The state originally declined to issue charges in the Jan. 18 incident, determining that no “strip” searches had occurred and therefore no laws had been broken. Oconto County District Attorney Edward Burke Jr. said the initial investigation focused on the search of the students and not their confinement.

“Upon their review, the state found that Casper lacked legal authority to confine the students in a small restroom in the school complex,” Burke’s statement said. “The state also found that the students did not consent to being confined, nor were they given the opportunity to leave or contact their parents.”

Casper, 51, of Coleman, is charged with six counts of false imprisonment. If convicted, she could face a maximum penalty of six years in prison on each count. Her first court appearance is set for March 23.

Court documents do not list an attorney for Casper, 51, of Coleman. She did not immediately respond to a phone message from The Associated Press. Her status with the district wasn’t clear late Monday. School board president Wayne Sleeter did not immediately respond to a phone message.

Jeff Olson, a civil rights attorney based in Madison, told WLUK-TV that “most of the families” involved in the searches retained his services two days after the decision to forego charges.

Suring is located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Green Bay.