The London Free Press, December 10, 1998

Trustees to meet on strip search penalty

KINGSVILLE -- Public school board officials were to meet today to announce final punishment for two school officials involved in a strip search of 19 students at Kingsville District high school.

Trustees from the Greater Essex County District school board will meet behind closed doors at 4:30 p.m. to examine a series of administration recommendations, before announcing their decision in public.

Board officials yesterday completed their investigation of vice-principal John MacDonald and teacher Dan Bondy, who were involved last week in a strip search of a gym class of Grade 9 students.

The boys, aged about 14, were taken one at a time into an office, ordered to remove their pants, then told to bend over as Bondy and MacDonald searched for missing money.

One public board official said he expects trustees will decide on penalties which range from moving the educators out of the school, a leave of absence without pay or job demotion.

"Administration will come to us with ideas," said trustee John VanWingarden.

"We will decide whether we want to go along with what they say."

Nobody with the public board indicated the two school officials -- both with over 20 years experience and "unblemished records" -- may be fired.

"Nobody wants to hang these two out to dry over one incident," said George Kennedy, chairperson of the public board.

Both MacDonald and Bondy have been suspended with pay.

The two have refused to comment since the strip-search incident occurred.

The school board has also issued strict new guidelines for student searches.

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