Georgia students could receive $3 million settlement in search lawsuit

Screen grab from WALB video
Screen grab from WALB video

A federal civil rights lawsuit against a sheriff has resulted in a $3 million settlement for students at a high school in Sylvester, Georgia.

According to WALB, a lawsuit was filed against Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby in July after nearly 900 students were searched without cause during a random drug search at Worth County High School.

The settlement was reached Tuesday and, if approved by U.S. District Judge Leslie J. Abrams, will be dispersed to all students present during the search.

The station reported each student would receive between $1,000 and $6,000 after filling out a survey about their experience during the search. Students who were subjected to more invasive searches will get a higher amount.

Atlanta-based attorney Mark Begnaud told the station he hopes this settlement sends a message to law enforcement across the country “that this isn’t acceptable.”

“It’s a win for those who value civil liberties,” he said.

Hobby was indicted in October and faces two counts of false imprisonment, one count of sexual battery and a charge of violating his oath of office.

WFXL reported the sheriff was suspended by Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday, effective immediately.

Mariya Lewter: 478-744-4364, @mariyaclewter