Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Supreme Court Hears Case of 13-Yr. Girl Strip-Searched by School Officials

Is this an outrageous or what? Strip searching a 13-year old girl because she might have prescription-strength ibuprofen!

NPR reports:

The Supreme Court seemed worried Tuesday about tying the hands of school officials looking for drugs and weapons on campus as they wrestled with the appropriateness of a strip-search of a 13-year-old girl accused of having prescription-strength ibuprofen.

Savana Redding was 13 when Safford, Ariz., Middle School officials, on a tip from another student, ordered her to remove her clothes and shake out her underwear looking for pills. The district bans prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
Her lawyer argued to the Supreme Court that such a "intrusive and traumatic" search would be unconstitutional in every circumstance if school administrators were not directly told the contraband was in her underwear.

NPR also reports:

Vice Principal Kerry Wilson took Redding to his office to search her backpack. When nothing was found, Redding was taken to a nurse's office where she says she was ordered to take off her shirt and pants. Redding said they then told her to move her bra to the side and to stretch her underwear waistband, exposing her breasts and pelvic area. No pills were found.

I find this intrusive search for a possible prescription drug to be an outrageous violation of her rights. Wasn’t it sufficient to check her bag and pockets? How could one ibuprofen be such a threat to the school that a strip search was necessary?

Furthermore, since she had to bare her breasts and pelvic area, I find this very close to rape and child abuse. Granted there was no physical contact or penetration, but think of the extreme personal embarrassment and the visual violation of one’s “private parts.” Rape is not a sexual crime; it is a crime of power – a person in a position of greater power violates the private parts of another.

This is just another example of women of all ages can becoming the victims of abuse of our right to privacy.

In my view, this school official should be liable for sexual abuse!

1 comment:

  1. Update, June 25, 2009: As reported by NPR from the AP: "The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that school officials violated an Arizona teenager's rights by strip-searching her for prescription-strength ibuprofen, declaring that U.S. educators cannot force children to remove their clothing unless student safety is at risk.

    In an 8-1 ruling, the justices said that Safford Middle School officials violated the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches with their treatment of Savana Redding. The court ruled that the officials could not be held financially liable but left it to lower courts to decide if the school district could."

    Why did it take going to the Suprement Court to get justice?