"Thong Lady" who too thoroughly investigated "inappropriate underwear," i.e., thong underwear, at a school dance, has been demoted. "Thong Lady" Stripped of Position

Rita Wilson, the former vice principal of Rancho Bernardo High School, in suburban San Diego, achieved her 15 minutes of notoriety earlier this year by too thoroughly investigating suspected "inappropriate underwear," i.e., thongs, at a school dance. (For background story, read "Of Thugs and Thongs...")

This week, Wilson got another unwanted turn in the news barrel by being demoted to a teaching position at an undetermined district school, according to Copley News Service. Wilson’s attorney says she will sue for reinstatement.

Wilson has tenure, which guarantees her a teaching position until retirement. School district officials apparently rejected firing her for fear of the cost of a wrongful termination suit, even though the district’s search and seizure policy prohibits "removing or arranging [a student’s] clothing for a visual inspection of underclothing, breasts, buttocks or genitalia."

That language is quite specific. Given the number of eyewitnesses to Wilson’s little investigatory frolic, including an on-duty police officer, one wonders what constitutes cause these days. Oh, sorry, we forgot. Zero tolerance is applied only to students.

School officials took no action against Natalie Johnson, the school’s counselor, who participated in Wilson’s action. She was only following orders.

School officials do plan to establish a commission to review policies and training for school dances (even though they claim Wilson had received five years of training on how to properly conduct searches). Commissions being almost as beloved as parades, that rush to responsibility will certainly fix things right up.

June 20, 2002
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