Skip to comments.The School Crotch Inspector - Fighting the Advil menace, one strip search at a time
Posted on 04/02/2008 3:39:20 PM PDT by neverdem
There are two kinds of people in the world: the kind who think it's perfectly reasonable to strip-search a 13-year-old girl suspected of bringing ibuprofen to school, and the kind who think those people should be kept as far away from children as possible. The first group includes officials at Safford Middle School in Safford, Arizona, who in 2003 forced eighth-grader Savana Redding to prove she was not concealing Advil in her crotch or cleavage.
It also includes two judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, who last fall ruled that the strip search did not violate Savana's Fourth Amendment rights. The full court, which recently heard oral arguments in the case, now has an opportunity to overturn that decision and vote against a legal environment in which schoolchildren are conditioned to believe government agents have the authority to subject people to invasive, humiliating searches on the slightest pretext.
Safford Middle School has a "zero tolerance" policy that prohibits possession of all drugs, including not just alcohol and illegal intoxicants but prescription medications and over-the-counter remedies, "except those for which permission to use in school has been granted." In October 2003, acting on a tip, Vice Principal Kerry Wilson found a few 400-milligram ibuprofen pills (each equivalent to two over-the-counter tablets) and one nonprescription naproxen tablet in the pockets of a student named Marissa, who claimed Savana was her source.
Savana, an honors student with no history of disciplinary trouble or drug problems, said she didn't know anything about the pills and agreed to a search of her backpack, which turned up nothing incriminating. Wilson nevertheless instructed a female secretary to strip-search Savana under the school nurse's supervision, without even bothering to contact the girl's mother.
The secretary had Savana take off all her clothing except her underwear. Then she told her to "pull her bra out and to the side and shake it, exposing her breasts," and "pull her underwear out at the crotch and shake it, exposing her pelvic area." Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between drug warriors and child molesters.
"I was embarrassed and scared," Savana said in an affidavit, "but felt I would be in more trouble if I did not do what they asked. I held my head down so they could not see I was about to cry." She called it "the most humiliating experience I have ever had." Later, she recalled, the principal, Robert Beeman, said "he did not think the strip search was a big deal because they did not find anything."
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that a public school official's search of a student is constitutional if it is "justified at its inception" and "reasonably related in scope to the circumstances which justified the interference in the first place." This search was neither.
When Wilson ordered the search, the only evidence that Savana had violated school policy was the uncorroborated accusation from Marissa, who was in trouble herself and eager to shift the blame. Even Marissa (who had pills in her pockets, not her underwear) did not claim that Savana currently possessed any pills, let alone that she had hidden them under her clothes.
Savana, who was closely supervised after Wilson approached her, did not have an opportunity to stash contraband. As the American Civil Liberties Union puts it, "There was no reason to suspect that a thirteen-year-old honor-roll student with a clean disciplinary record had adopted drug-smuggling practices associated with international narcotrafficking, or to suppose that other middle-school students would willingly consume ibuprofen that was stored in another student's crotch."
The invasiveness of the search also has to be weighed against the evil it was aimed at preventing. "Remember," the school district's lawyer recently told ABC News by way of justification, "this was prescription-strength ibuprofen." It's a good thing the school took swift action, before anyone got unauthorized relief from menstrual cramps.
© Copyright 2008 by Creators Syndicate Inc.
Homeschooling reason ping
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
Oh, that's going to go over big with FR'S own Drug Warrior contingent. ;)
That principal is extremely lucky that was not my daughter.
The public school system would be firing the principal if the searched-for pill induced abortion.
So if you want to legally rape kids all you have to do is become a principal and accuse the child of possessing ibuprofen.
Just when we thought we’d heard it all, we discover a reason to homeschool that would never have occured to us.
Our taxpayer dollars at work.
Sometimes there is no difference between drug warriors and child molesters.
While I understand the sentiment, this repeated suggestion is a horrible cop-out, a call to surrender our civil liberties and attempt to withdraw behind private fortifications. But if your civil liberties are not safe in the public commons what will protect your civil liberties on your own property?
Principal Beeman, I'm sure, would have no problem with being strip-searched, since he's got nothing to hide.
Crotch searches for Advil. What will they do next, strip searches for M & M’s?
“..the principal, Robert Beeman, said “he did not think the strip search was a big deal because they did not find anything.”
Then YOU, Beeman, should be sued so that your legal expenses amount to every nickel of equity in your home, your car, and your salary for the next 8 years, and if you’re found not guilty, why then, it’ll be no big deal for you either. Sound fair?
If a few of these "Education Professionals" began meeting the large end of a baseball bat, it might start doing some good.
Or more than a few.
“While I understand the sentiment, this repeated suggestion is a horrible cop-out, a call to surrender our civil liberties and attempt to withdraw behind private fortifications.”
Oh I agree with you but the two aren’t mutually exclusive. I can refuse to sacrifice my children at the alter of liberal gods and still fight against this.
Public schools are an abysmal failure and yet the answer is always more tax money.
Let me say this,,,,,if that was my daughter, the principal and I would definetly have had WORDS, actually, my daughter probably would have stood her ground against being searched. I’m sure I would have gotten a phone call.
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