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KIDS STRIP-SEARCHED OVER MISSING MONEY

Twenty-three third graders were strip-searched by a teacher and crossing guard looking for about $20 a pupil had reported missing.

The children were taken into closets one-by-one and told to drop their pants, Union County Prosecutor Andrew K. Ruotolo Jr. said Saturday.The female crossing guard examined the girls while the male teacher examined the boys, he said.

Ruotolo is investigating the search of about two weeks ago at Jefferson School but said charges were unlikely.

An initial review by the state Division of Youth and Family Services found "nothing of a sexual nature occurred," he said.

Principal Evelyn Baker was suspended for a week, and the school board did not renew her contract at Monday's meeting.

Superintendent Larry Leverett was not available for comment Saturday.

Ruotolo didn't know if the money was recovered.