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Registering My Disapproval – School Strip-Search Case

April 21, 2009

I caught this piece on NPR this morning, “Supreme Court To Hear School Strip-Search Case.” It’s about a 13-year-old honors student with no history of disciplinary problems who was “asked to strip down to her underwear and stood there while the nurse and secretary inspected her clothes and shoes.”

Because they just *suspected* she might have drugs on her. They found nothing.

“Then, you know, I thought they were going to let me put my clothes back on, but instead they asked me to pull out my bra and shake it, and the crotch on my underwear, too,” Redding says.

Oh. hell. no.

I don’t even think school kids should have to do random drug tests or drug tests to be allowed to participate in after-school activities. I figure that if a kid is experimenting with drugs, it’s better for them to be in an after-school program than having unsupervised free time. I’m sure it’s something to do with school insurance and whatnot, but it’s not-in my opinion-in the best interest of the students.

Strip searching a young girl – especially by random school administrators, especially without a parent present, especially on the basis of schoolyard gossip – is beyond the pale. The school’s lawyer said “We just have to ask ourselves, as a policy matter, do you really want a drug-free environment? And if you do, then there are going to be some privacy invasions when there is reason to suspect that those drugs are being dispensed on campus, that they’re being used by students.”

No. Just no.

The lawyer also made this argument about the relatively benign nature of the supposed hearsay drug possession, which was prescription ibuprofen:

“School administrators are not pharmacologically trained in being able to assess the relative dangers any one drug might present, but what they are charged with is to make sure that students are kept safe from such threats of danger.”

When students are subject to strip searches from school administrators, they are not safe from threats of danger. That possibility is a threat of danger.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2009 8:39 am

    Yea, you can’t even imagine the damage I would inflict on any school official that subjected my daughter or son to a strip search. Really, any kind of search, absent something more than rumor. I realize that Columbine changed the playing field forever, but no amount of searching would have prevented someone intent on causing that kind of mayhem. There just isn’t any argument for this kind of invasion of privacy.

  2. Catherine permalink
    April 21, 2009 9:36 am

    Yes I also was appalled, and furthermore was not happy with the Justice department’s position. To say this cannot be done in the future, fine, but what about this girl? I do not like this apparent trend of the administration to try to smooth over past abuses.

    I just don’t get some of the way that schools are behaving these days with respect to regulations. They seem downright unintelligent in their seeming inability to be reasonable.

  3. April 21, 2009 12:42 pm

    Zero tolerance is a stupid thing.

  4. April 21, 2009 5:38 pm

    Seriously. I don’t even have my own children (at present), and this brought out the “mama bear” in me. I can’t imagine how my own parents would have reacted.

  5. David permalink
    April 21, 2009 6:49 pm


  6. April 27, 2009 8:59 pm

    Absolutely unbelievable! I can’t believe this even got as far as it did! If this had been my daughter, I would either be in jail or in the ground. What happened to the days when you could assume your child is safe at school? Even if there had been sufficient evidence to warrant a search, the childs parent(s) should be the ones administering. I will certainly be following this. Thank You


  1. Are Your Kids Going to School or Jail? « Tiny Cat Pants
  2. Pool Tables & Penis-Grabbing « Just Another Pretty Farce
  3. Supreme Court Rules that School’s Strip Search of Teen Girl Violates 4th Amendment Rights « Women’s Health News

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