The Devil’s in the Details – Strip Search of 13-year-old Unconstitutional

(By Evan Vucci -- Associated Press)
Savana Redding (By Evan Vucci -- Associated Press)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that school officials in Arizona violated 13-year-old Savana Redding’s rights when they strip searched her after they suspected the girl possessed prescription strength ibuprofen. Although Justice Thomas, the lone dissenter, claimed the decision invited students to hide dangerous weapons and contraband in their undergarments, the devil truly is in the details. 

School officials were acting on spurious evidence that Savana had “drugs” in the first place (a vague tip from another student).  Second the danger posed by Savana’s possession of the equivalent of two Advil’s simply did not justify a school nurse and teacher asking the girl to shake out her bra and underwear in such a way that her breasts and pelvic area were exposed. 

This was precisely the opinion expressed by Justice Souter, writing for the majority.  Conservatives have argued that the suit sets dangerous precedent by putting a dark cloud over strip searches, which have now been banned by several school districts. 

May I humbly suggest, that if a school really believes a student possesses something so dangerous that a strip search of a minor is necessary, they call the child’s parents first.  It doesn’t really matter which school officials are brought in (how many and whom), the issue is privacy.  If a strip search is that necessary, maybe it should be conducted by a parent.

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.

(Unbiased) Article from the Washington Post.

Full Opinion of the Court.


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