Compton principal on leave; students allege 'uncomfortable' searches

Dominguez High School principal on leave after students report inappropriate searches

A Compton principal has been placed on leave after allegations that he searched students in an inappropriate way.

Several male students, 16 and 17 years old, said their principal at Dominguez High School, Oscar Méndez, searched them in an inappropriate manner and made them feel "uncomfortable," said Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Al Garcia.

Compton Unified School District officials placed Mendez on leave Feb. 10 after learning of the allegations.

Méndez is one of two principals at the high school and is responsible for campus operations, including disciplinary actions and security. He was assigned to the school July 1.

Detectives say they have interviewed 10 students and seven high school staff members as part of their investigation so far.

Five of the 10 students confirmed what they said were inappropriate searches, which occurred after they were investigated for misconduct, including smoking cigarettes or marijuana, ditching school or possessing contraband, Garcia said.

The searches occurred in the last several months, he said.

Garcia declined to disclose details about the searches, saying such a disclosure could jeopardize the investigation and taint the account of witnesses yet to be interviewed.

District officials did not return requests for comment.

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