Parents learn details of $3M Worth Co. search settlement - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Parents learn details of $3M Worth Co. search settlement

The Southern Center for Human Rights held the community meeting to give specifics and answer questions about the settlement on Monday night. (Source: WALB) The Southern Center for Human Rights held the community meeting to give specifics and answer questions about the settlement on Monday night. (Source: WALB)
Dozens of parents and students learned more about the $3 million lawsuit settlement with the Worth County Sheriff's Office. (Source: WALB) Dozens of parents and students learned more about the $3 million lawsuit settlement with the Worth County Sheriff's Office. (Source: WALB)
Worth Co. High School parent, Sandy Jarrell (Source: WALB) Worth Co. High School parent, Sandy Jarrell (Source: WALB)
Attorney with the Southern Center for Human Right, Crystal Redd (Source: WALB) Attorney with the Southern Center for Human Right, Crystal Redd (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Dozens of parents and students learned more about the $3 million lawsuit settlement with the Worth County Sheriff's Office.

It was for the controversial drug search of students at Worth County High School. 

The Southern Center for Human Rights held the community meeting to give specifics and answer questions about the settlement on Monday night. 

"Each student who was a member of the class who was searched will get between $1,000 and $6,000," Mark Begnaud, an attorney with Atlanta-based civil rights law firm Horsely Begnaud, said to the crowd. 

Attorneys with the Southern Center for Human Rights told parents the payout depends on the invasiveness of the search.

"It's left a scar on them and tonight was the first night that I heard that even the handicap children, and that really breaks my heart,"  Worth Co. High School parent, Sandy Jarrell explained. 

Like it was yesterday, Jarrell recalled that controversial drug search at Worth County High School on April 14th.

The search sparked a lawsuit against Worth County Sheriff's Office that claimed nearly 900 students were searched without cause.

Tuesday, November 14, attorneys reached a $3 million settlement.

"We are happy that it has moved at the speed that it has," said Crystal Redd, an attorney with the Southern Center for Human Right. 

"I'm really surprised it's gone as fast as it has," Jarrell remarked. 

If the proposed settlement is approved by the district judge, all students and parents will get a "notification of the settlement and a questionnaire for the students to fill out about the search they experienced," explained Redd. 

Those questions are confidential. 

But parents did learn that once all of the claims are complete, 50 percent of the remaining funds will go to the school.  

"It does have to be used for the students because they were the students who were affected by this search, the students' whose rights were violated and ultimately the students who brought the lawsuit," said Redd. 

"All of us parents as a whole are kind of relieved but are still upset," Jarrell added. 

So what happens next? 

Both parties will file a joint motion for the judge to approve the settlement. 

Then, attorneys with the Southern Center for Human Rights will send each class member a notification and questionnaire. 

But there isn't a specific time frame of when the judge will make a decision. 

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