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Settlement reached over Worth County High School search

A proposed settlement in the civil rights case over a search of Worth County High School students in April has been reached. / Photo: MGN Online

A proposed settlement in the civil rights case over a search of Worth County High School students in April has been reached.

The total settlement fund is set at $3 million, which is the limit of the defendant's insurance policy according to lawyers representing the plaintiffs.

How will that money be split?

  • The class, comprised of approximately 850 students subjected to searches, will will receive a monetary award of between $1,000 and $6,000, with those students subjected to more invasive searches receiving higher amounts.
  • Once any outstanding claims are resolved and attorney fees of 15% of the fund are paid, half of any remaining funds will be paid into a fund for the benefit of Worth County High School students.

“This settlement is a victory for the hundreds of Worth County students whose constitutional rights were violated,” said Mark Begnaud, an attorney with Atlanta-based civil rights law firm Horsley Begnaud. “We hope that this multi-million dollar settlement will send the message to law enforcement officials everywhere that abuse of power will not be tolerated.”

The settlement will still need to be approved by the federal district court hearing the case. if approved by the court, claim forms will be sent to affected students.

“The students’ voices have been heard,” said Southern Center for Human Rights attorney Crystal Redd in the press release. “Their rights were violated on April 14, and they took the steps to ensure that these illegal searches would not go unnoticed.”


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