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.
Nothing to see here, folks. Just the self-immolation of the last vestiges of a never-quite-developed manhood.
You are easily the most pathetic beggar of questions I've ever run across.
I know you have no use for facts, but:
"I was embarrassed and scared, but felt I would be in more trouble if I did not do what they asked," said Redding in a sworn affidavit following the incident.
That is what FORCE is man. What kind of an apostrophied expletive deleted dumb-expletive deleted am I / are we dealing with that does not even understand what force is, and right after I quoted the dictionary definition of force in post 617 too. Do you know what a ditionary is? Do you know what a definition is? Do you know what a word is?
We knew that fact too. The problem is that most of us know what the word "force" means. You would like to portray this as "voluntary" compliance, but there is nothing voluntary about this.
Wow so they terrorized the child too. What a wonderful adults. All for an ADVIL! I wonder what went through this poor child's mind....
They asked. All your unsupported lies just came crashing down.
Me, I would not split that hair, but apparently this shriveled up excuse of a moral bankrupt would.
You’re setting the bar awfully high there. robertpaulson is gone, only his pup remains.
It must be nice to be able to invent all your facts as needed. No need to actually read or know anything...
Would you please step into this gas chamber -- merely a request. All your morally bankrupt hairsplitting just came crashing down.
Beg, beg, beg...
She's thinking she now has a healthy fear of petty bureaucrats.
It's sad that this lesson has to be learned in this formerly free, formerly great nation, but, alas, it is what it is.
I thought, by law, minors couldn’t voluntarily do anything in a legal sense. Thus the legal distinction “minor.” ???
They made the request at gunpoint? Your fantasies grow stranger by the post.
Who invented what? "terror" is defined as
1. Intense, overpowering fear. See synonyms at fear. 2. One that instills intense fear: a rabid dog that became the terror of the neighborhood. 3. The ability to instill intense fear: the terror of jackboots pounding down the street[this is actually in the original.]
You put it up didn't you? She was given to believe if she did not do as they said to do she would be in more trouble. So verbally they frightened this child. seems easy to see that to me.
In loco parentis. Read a book.
This young lady was clearly cornered, coerced and no doubt was threatened with even more punitive, government actions.
She should have made lots of noise here, do what ever she had to do, including throwing a chair through a window to escape these nut jobs. This would have really brought in the bright lights and put this issue on the map.
She doesn't say anyone told her that when she was asked. You don't get to invent your own facts.
Yes it is sad & much sadder to see is that there are people who actually think that it is ok for the school to make your child strip off her clothes for an advil! Mind you this wasn’t dope but an advil. If they thought she was such a danger why weren’t the police called in?
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