Strip-search of US girl illegal

"The US Supreme Court has ruled that school staff broke the law when they ordered a 13-year-old girl to strip while searching her for painkillers. The Arizona school, which bans prescription and over-the-counter drugs, suspected Savana Redding, then 13, of carrying ibuprofen. After no drugs were found in her bag, she had to remove her clothing, and then move her bra and underwear. However, the court said individuals could not be held liable in a lawsuit. The school principal acted on a tip-off from another student that Savana was carrying ibuprofen. "

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8119392.stm

Ibuprofen? :shrug: Muggeridge was correct. We have indeed “educated ourselves into imbecility”.

Clarence Thomas dissents.

Not true, like some of Justices Stevens and Ginsburg he concurred in part and dissented in part:

SOUTER, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS,
C. J., and SCALIA, KENNEDY, BREYER, and ALITO, JJ., joined, and in which STEVENS and GINSBURG, JJ., joined as to Parts I–III. STEVENS, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which GINSBURG, J., joined. GINSBURG, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part.

supremecourtus.gov/opinions/08pdf/08-479.pdf

I wonder what the Founders would think of us submitting sheeplike to the assaults on our rights in the name of the “war on drugs”.

The main part of the decision held the school district in error. Justice Thomas dissented.

Ginsburg filed a separate decision saying the school district, while in error, is still liable. Justice Thomas agreed.

Since he did not vote with the majority on either issue, I count that a dissent.

I think that the decision was completely correct.

I’m a deputy sheriff, and believe that the conduct by the school was totally wrong and unreasonable by any stretch of the imagination.

To me this should have been handled as follows (based on what I read of situation, and I read the decision from the Court):

  1. Searching the backpack and having her turn her pockets out for suspected illegal drugs was fine.

  2. If you believe that there is any reason to believe that she was hiding them in an intimate area, you call us. We will investigate the matter since her possession of the drug in question would have been illegal, and determine if there is probable cause to go further. Now I (and I speak for myself personally) would not have found probable cause based on what I read so it would have ended there.

  3. One must take into consideration the alleged drug and quantities as the Court rightly stated. I can make up 400mg of Ibuproferin with the over the counter form very easily. This also would have made it unlikely for me to take it any farther. One must be reasonable. If it was alleged to be a few grams of crack cocaine, then I would begin interviews of the people involved, the students making the allegations against her, check criminal histories, etc.

  4. If there were reason to go farther, one must consider that (uningested) drugs would not be covered under the “diminishing evidence” rule (example of this rule: a drunk driver where a legal blood draw is needed in a short amount of time, as waiting a few hours could cause the BAC to drop below legal levels). There is no need to rush things, and there is plenty of time to take a course of action.

  5. I would have called the parents. It’s a wonder why no one thought of this. Especially in conjunction with the above point I made, there is plenty of time for them to arrive. She can be safely detained until they arrive.

  6. If there was truly probable cause to believe that she was concealing DANGEROUS (and ibuproferin in the alleged quantity is not) drugs, I would have transported her to a medical facility with her parents present and had a doctor or other medical professional conduct the search. If the parents would have refused, then I would have detained her and gotten a warrant.

A school employee has no right in my mind (and it’s illegal in Wisconsin for any school employee to do so) strip searching any student. Male or female. The bounds of reasonableness were totally exceeded here. I personally believe that the district should be held financially liable. It is not a school employees job to do the job of the police.

Could this allow some drugs to nonetheless be in the school. Yes. But I also believe that a gestapo like policy is way too restrictive on freedom. Those who would give up freedom and liberty for security deserve neither.

Were I to strip search a 13 year old female on such shaky grounds, I’d probably be in the unemployment line.

From what I have read of the case, I believe this is the correct call…Roanoker

Stupid idiotic rule. What if the kid is diabetic or suffers migraines? No kid of mine would be in a school like that.

Prepare to homeschool, all schools are like that, public schools anyway.

The rule is “zero tolerance”. If the kid has headaches he has to leave his ibuprofen locked up in the nurse’s office and go ask for one if he does get a headache. A couple years ago I read that two girls got suspended because one had given the other a Midol. The recipient only got a couple days suspension but the other girl got eight weeks for possession and distribution I guess.

What’s ironic is that there has never been a more drugged-out generation of schoolchildren trooping to the nurse morning and noon for their Ritalin, Dexedrine, &c for ADHD and other drugs for other disorders.

Absolutely, they are.
My school… cough drops were allowed, but that Chloroseptic spray wasn’t, which was odd. Of course, not everybody listened to the “zero tolerance” policy, myself included. I had migraines as a teenager, and had a prescription for them, not just some OTC Tylenol. At first, I would go to the nurses office to take it, until a teacher said I couldn’t go to the nurses office.
If a student is following the rules of putting drugs in the nurses office, and he’s got a doctor’s note explaining why he needs this drug, then IMO, a teacher can’t say “no, you can’t go see the nurse.”

If the school really believed something serious was going on, they should have kept the girl in the office and called the police and her parents.

Ibuprofen? The mild, harmless painkiller that is safe to use while pregnant and breasfteeding and that many girls use for menstrual cramps and would probably be embarrassed to have to ask for at school every time they need it? THAT Ibuprofen?

They strip-searched a young girl because they SUSPECTED she had IBUPROFEN on her? Am I missing something?

No, unfortunately you are not.
Ridiculous. I can’t believe there are people defending it.

Wow. Sometimes the ‘land of the free’ sounds eerily like one of Orwell’s dystopias.

I say let the call the police and let them deal with it in their own ways. I am a middle school teacher, and it looks to me that the principal, the district, and the person making her strip is liable for any harm. Call they police… let the do the work they are paid to do. We have a female officer on our campus at all times, so I guess it is easy for me to write this!

Revert TSIEG

I think this is exactly right. Especially your 5th point - call the parents! And your 2nd, if you think she is breaking the law - call the police.

Schools have considerable authority to search kids and do other things to keep peace and safety in the schools. This case doesn’t really change that, in my mind. The Court said that things would be different if there was some reason to believe that someone’s life or health was in danger, but there wasn’t. The only issue was that they were pressing the letter of the rule that having ten over-the-counter 200mg ibuprofen is OK, but having one prescription strength 400mg ibuprofen is not.

I like Stevens comment in his concurrence, which is actually a quote from another case:

“‘t does not require a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13-year-old child is an invasion of constitutional rights of some magnitude.

We couldn’t even have cough drops at my schools.

Ugh… if I were in this poor girl’s shoes, I would feel as though I had been sexually assaulted. What a shame.

My school’s policy says we can only carry one dosage of a drug we might need, and we need a parental note with us. Of course, nobody follows it; we girls all carry Ibuprofen, of course. But I certainly wouldn’t put a strip search past our security guards! :frowning:

I totally agree the search was completely unreasonable and unconstitutional. However, in my opinion the Court was wrong to give the principal immunity. Those working at this specific direction, make a more sympathetic case, but they should have known better as well. Hopefully the school district at least will made to pay.

At my school, the issue w/h been dropped w/ no strip search. 1st, no probable cause & 2 it is an over the counter. Example: “susie, do you have some ___ pills on you?” Susie says “no”, so its back to class for her! :extrahappy:

Thank God that the Supreme Court was granted some common sense. Ibuprofen is a legal drug, the only thing that might have been improper about her having it was the school rules where she went. The school systems have taken the zero tolerance thing way to far…While I was blessed with a teacher who would turn around while one student borrowed a tylenol or motrin from another student, many are not so lucky. That was my senior year and she felt we were old enough to decide if we needed motrin on our own…However were we to have diet pills, caffiene pills or something like legal speed she might have gave us one warning before we got hauled off to the office…especially if we were trading it… If a kid is using ibuprofen sensibly for migraines, the faster they can get it in thier system the better…less disruption of class time, more focus because of less pain…if they can catch them early enough then they might be able to stop it before it gets to the stage where the only thing that helps is an injection from the dr…Asthma inhalers…gee let’s wait ten or fifteen minutes to get to the nurse because they can’t carry it with them and the class is out on a hike…there is a reason they call albuterol an “emergency inhaler” We really have lost our common sense in some of these schools…

As a catholic and a sister to a child who has been in public school and home school I will be the first to tell you that should I ever have children my first choice would be a private Catholic school during thier formative years, while I might have them attend vocational school when they are older, when they are under 14 I would rather keep them out of the public school system… If I couldn’t afford a private Catholic school I would probably home school…there are a number of Catholic school curricula available for homeschooing parents as well as secular online charter schools (public) that have online instruction that don’t charge a bunch of money, the parent is responsible for the internet connection…and then add bible and religious instruction, and preferably a bit of training in other things like sewing and mending or caring for the family car, cooking healthy food for the family and why it is better to not smoke even if all your friends are doing it…Most areas have a christian homeschoolers association, who arrange get togethers where kids can socialize in a wholesome atmosphere with christian raised kids…

Ok I admit this topic starts me on a whole soapbox rant…but I am probably not the only one that thinks there are major problems with the public schools…not the least of which is the absence of common sense from most administrations…

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.