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Teacher who flagged alleged strip searches put on leave, given more violations

The Garside Junior High School teacher who reported alleged student strip searches was put on paid administrative leave Friday, her lawyer said.

Shushan Sadjadi was also hit with seven new alleged violations, attorney Brian Berman said, totaling 24 teaching offenses since she reported the strip search allegations in February.

Sadjadi, a math teacher, was confronted after class Friday by the Garside principal and told she was being “assigned to home” while an investigation was being conducted, Berman said.

The principal, Marbella Alfonzo, took Sadjadi’s badge and keys, and the teacher was ordered to leave the school campus, Berman said. Sadjadi’s access to the school’s computer system also was revoked.

“I presume they’re setting her up for termination,” Berman said. “If I had to make up the facts, I couldn’t dream up a better case of retaliation.”

Sadjadi could not be reached for comment.

Clark County School District spokesman Tod Story said he could not comment on the administrative action because it was a personnel matter.

Sadjadi’s departure comes one day after the Review-Journal published a story online in which Sadjadi and Berman accused Garside administrators of retaliating against her after she raised concerns about the alleged strip searches.

Both Story and Alfonzo have said the school has not been able to substantiate the allegations.

But another teacher also reported on Feb. 11 one of her students had experienced an “uncomfortable” search, according to a school district document.

Sadjadi, who teaches seventh- and eighth-graders, told the Review-Journal this week that both male and female students voluntarily told her about uncomfortable searches by administrators and staff members after suspicions of marijuana use.

Sadjadi said she reported the concerns to Garside administrators the morning of Feb. 11 after students first told her about the searches the previous day. She claims Alfonzo and Vice Principal Matthew Spurk were initially slow to respond to her concerns.

School district regulations say strip searches can only be conducted in “extraordinary circumstances when necessary to avoid an immediate threat or danger to safety, welfare or health and less intrusive means are not practical.”

Earlier Friday, district police told Sadjadi they were investigating whether students were strip-searched, and they went to Garside to interview her, Berman said.

Sadjadi had no teaching violations prior to raising her concerns about the possible searches, Berman said.

Previously, she was accused of being late for work, giving out her personal phone number to students and not following proper policies with her student entrepreneur club’s banking funds, according to documents provided to the Review-Journal.

The alleged misconduct included interviewing students about the strip-search allegations before talking to Garside administrators and not providing the names to administrators of the students claiming they had knowledge of the strip searches.

The latest offenses include interviewing students and conducting investigations on her own beyond the scope of her duties, a Garside disciplinary document states. Those interviews appear to be related to “student searches” she conducted in her room without administrative approval, according to the document. There is no explanation of the searches.

She also is accused of having “unprofessional conversations” with students about personal employee matters and interfering with the business of the Scholar Success Office, the Garside student disciplinary unit where students were allegedly strip-searched.

The new Garside document says Sadjadi would not give students passes to see administrators and asked students why they were at the office.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter. German is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing. Support our journalism.

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