Saturday, July 12, 2008

Strip Search 13 Year Old Girls --- for Advil

13 year old honor student. No history of substance abuse or even use. A classmate already in trouble pointed the finger at this 13 year old. Assistant principal does a strip search.

And what evil narcotic were they looking for?


That's right, ladies & gentlemen. The gov't War on Drugs has put a battle entrenchment in our middle schools & we're gonna fight against Advil.

Well, the 9th Circuit Court of appeals has now ruled that the gov't will need to point its legal attack elsewhere . . . like meth labs or something. The court ruled that a school may not strip search a student based only on the word of another student who is facing disciplinary action.

In other words, just like the Salem Witch Trials where the accused pointed the finger at someone else to get sympathy for a lighter punishment, the danger of that happening with middle schoolers is proportionally much, much greater. The result is that innocent kids get humiliated.

The court said any reasonable school official would not subject a 13 year old with the trauma of a strip search because of the danger of Advil:

. . We reject Safford’s effort to lump together these run-of-the-mill anti-inflammatory pills with the evocative term ‘prescription drugs,’ in a knowing effort to shield an imprudent strip search of a young girl behind a larger war against drugs. . . It does not take a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13-year-old girl is an invasion of constitutional rights. More than that: it is a violation of any known principle of human dignity.

And the court was evidently really ticked off at the assistant principal, ruling that she was financially liable in the case and cannot claim qualified immunity.

In other words, the parents will own that assistant principal's home, car, contents --- everything. She violated the students civil liberties in an egregious manner.

I mean, let's look at the facts here:

  1. Not a bit of evidence that the kid had the Advil. Even worse, there was never an indication that the kid was hiding it in her underwear.
  2. Repeat: not a shred of evidence the kid had Advil. None. Wait! There was the accusation of another kid that was already in trouble for having prescription strength ibuprofen – the equivalent of two over-the-counter pills of Advil. (And why on earth might a teen aged girl have ibuprofen?)
  3. Not any attempt to get more info that the accusation may have some validity.
  4. Not even an attempt was made to contact the student' parents prior to conducting the strip search.

Now I understand the Zero Tolerance Policy. I understand there must be accountability & parents/students should have such medication with the school to prevent real problems. Got it. Not a problem.

But this is where sanity has gone completely out the window. When a school official believes that a strip search of a 13 year old girl under these circumstances is warranted, then the danger is War on Drugs itself.

Notice what she said & the reaction of the principal (click here for link):

"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."

News flash, Principal Beeman: it =IS= a big deal when you humiliate a 13 year old girl like that. There is ample evidence to show the serious psychological repercussions of being strip-searched at age 13. Check out the National Association of Social Workers & the Rutherford Institute.

Here's the pdf of the ruling.

No comments: