Wilson County mom claims her son was 'strip searched' by principal over bubble gum

WILSON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Crystal Pickett claims her 9-year-old was violated by a school administrator on Monday when he was "strip searched" for chewing bubble gum.

Pickett said her son just started school at Wells Elementary less than a month ago, and now he doesn't want to go back.

"He came to me crying because he's hurt," Pickett said. "He don't know if he should go to school or not because they may search him for every little thing that he does."

The alleged incident happened by the playground in front of other students.

Pickett said her son's chest was exposed, his pant pockets, book bag, and jacket were all searched.

She said her son has ADHD or Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, and chewing gum calms him down; a coping mechanism she said school leaders knew he needed.

When ABC11 asked why the bubble gum became an issue Pickett said "I really don't know. I feel like Ms. Dublin, the assistant principal has been targeting me for some reason the whole entire time."

The Wilson County School district said they interviewed staff present during the alleged incident and found absolutely no evidence of a strip search, and they stand by the administrator wrongly accused.

Pickett, who also works as a teacher in the school district, stands by her son's statements.

She said administrators have threatened to terminate her for publicly coming forward.

"The school probably trying to brush it up under the rug, but something did happen. Something did happen to my son yesterday," Pickett stated.

Pickett's mom has filed a report with Wilson Police and said she plans to contact a lawyer to discuss her legal options.

The school district said it will continue to reach out to the family and support the student.
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