DENVER -- It started as a girl fight at Denver’s Kepner Middle school.
"The little girl grabbed her hair and yanked her down the ground," says Danielle Espinoza, but she adds what happened next to her 13-year-old daughter afterward crossed the line.
"She's a 13-year-old girl. They should not be asking her to remove her shirt," Espinoza says.
Danielle says a female school counselor, a male staff member and a male police officer decided to strip-search her 8th grade daughter after they found a pipe in her backpack.
The girl, who is afraid to be identified, told FOX31 News, “I was scared, I was embarrassed and mad.” She says after the counselor searched her pockets and patted her down, she was told she had to remove her shirt.
Her mother doesn’t condone her daughter’s behavior, but says she did not deserve to be humiliated.
"To find out she was asked to remove her shirt in front of two males…I don't think that's appropriate," said the girl's mother.
Denver Public Schools has a policy which reads, “searches shall be limited to the student’s pockets, any object in a student’s possession…and/or a pat down of the student’s clothing. No strip-searches…shall be carried out.”
DPS sent FOX31 a statement which reads in part: “DPS...is in the process of conducting a thorough investigation... if the investigation reveals that this matter was handled improperly, disciplinary action will be taken.”
Still, Danielle is concerned that no one from the school notified her that her daughter was going to be strip-searched.
And the school didn’t seem to be taking her complaints seriously until after she contacted FOX 31.