Strip search violated girl's rights

Strip searching a 13-year-old Arizona girl to search for ibuprofen violated the student’s rights, ruled an appeals court on a 6-5 vote.

To learn if Savana Redding was carrying over-the-counter pain pills such as Advil or Motrin, a school nurse told her to remove her clothes, including her bra, and shake her underwear. A classmate caught with ibuprofen had named Savana as her supplier. No pills were found.

“Directing a 13-year-old girl to remove her clothes, partially revealing her breasts and pelvic area, for allegedly possessing ibuprofen, an infraction that poses an imminent danger to no one, and which could be handled by keeping her in the principal’s office until a parent arrived or simply sending her home, was excessively intrusive,” Justice Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote for the majority.

The eighth-grade girl was an honor student who’d never been in trouble. Of course, that doesn’t mean she never takes ibuprofen for her period. Most girls that age take something.

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Comments

  1. Mrs. Davis says:

    If this had been done in a parochial or private school, what would law enforcement’s reaction have been? But since civil servants committed this act the brethren circle the wagons to protect one of their own from the criminal prosecution so richly deserved.

  2. Mrs. Davis–the way I read what Joanne wrote, the court came down on the side of the kid (as well they should have).

  3. Mrs. Davis says:

    I agree that the court in a civil suit brought by the parents who had to pay for their attorney ruled in favor of the child and will no doubt make a monetary award that the school district’s insurance company will pay out after deductible with premiums to be raised in the future on the backs of the taxpayers.

    But if I heard that someone in authority had told my child to strip, my first call would not be to my family attorney to commence civil proceedings. It would be to the Police to have the alleged perpetrator picked up on child molestation charges and with whatever else it is the cops charge people like this.

    Imagine the same thing had happened at a Catholic school with someone from a religious order involved. Given what’s gone on with the priests and kids, I suspect the situation would have been handled much differently by the press and prosecutors. Why? Should not the public schools be held to the same standard?

    This is not the first incident of this type we have read about. One would think there would have been a moment of reflection after the first one and the application of some judgment in future situations. But instead, the little Hitlers with their zero tolerance policies continue to assault our children with impunity because they need not fear individual personal criminal prosecution. Why not?

  4. This was an example of when too much power and poor judgment puts a child in situation that is very damaging. I wonder at what point the parents were notified by the school about what had taken place.

  5. If their objective was to humiliate this girl, then I would say the school did a great job. Strip-searching for over-the-counter meds? What ever happened to treating students with respect and encouraging values like ‘honesty.’ For example, asking her if she had pills, and then offering a simple warning if she is to be caught with any in the future. But no, somehow a group of adults decided that shaking her underwear seems to be the most practical means of getting what they want. It’s a shame this kind of stuff even happens in our schools.

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  6. Bill Leonard says:

    Here we go again.

    I can understand the anger of Mrs. Davis and others — indeed, I wholeheartedly agree with it.

    But a basic question: why are the administrators involved in this shameful scenario (and I have no doubt this is not the first such in that school or that district) still on the public payroll? Fools and time-servers such as these do not deserve jobs in education.

    Bill

  7. Miller Smith says:

    VP Wilson aslo pulled in several other students and one boy was also accused of having drugs on his person…the boy was not strip searched. The boy only had to turn out his pockets.

    VP Wilson is ruined at this school as are the two nurses. Protests at the school are planned with signage says that the VP and the nurses are “violators of children” and “stip little girls naked for illegal activities.”

    The parents filed charge against the nurses at the state professional board and have asked the state’s attorney to arrest them.

    Who kows where this will lead, but one thing that all VPs and nurses had better get through their heads-you think a child has something illegal on their body you call the cops. Don’t you ever strip search a child. You let the cops decide that one.

    People get in charge of kids and think they are god. I hope VP Wilson has to move out of his neighborhood.

  8. Mark Roulo says:

    Who knows where this will lead, but one thing that all VPs and nurses had better get through their heads-you think a child has something illegal on their body you call the cops.

    I don’t think the police will respond to a report of ‘possible ibuprofin possession.’ If the school is going to make possession of over-the-counter drugs against school policy, I suspect that the school is going to have to manage it without police assistance.

    -Mark Roulo

  9. The vote was 6 to 5? What am I missing?

  10. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Zero tolerance should pay minimum wage. If you receive professional salary you should be required to exercise professional judgment.

  11. Richard Nieporent says:

    Let me add my voice to the justifiable outrage of the people commenting on this post. I agree that the VP and the nurse should be fired. By showing that, at a minimum, they have such a total lack of judgment, they should never again be allowed to be in a position of authority over children.

    In a dissenting opinion, Justice Michael Daly Hawkins wrote: “We should resist using our independent judgment to determine what infractions are so harmful as to justify significantly intrusive searches.”

    “Seemingly innocuous items can, in the hands of creative adolescents, present serious threats.

    “Admittedly, ibuprofen is one of the mildest drugs children could choose to abuse. But that does not mean it is never harmful.”

    To answer your question Chris, what we have are judges who are unwilling to do what they are being paid to do. The purpose of the Court is to protect the rights of individuals when they are clearly being violated. By not using his “independent judgment”, he is in effect giving the school administrators carte blanche to abuse students. If the judge refuses to use his judgment then he should be in some other line of work, one preferably where he does not have to think.

  12. Walter makes a good point on “professional” salaries requiring better judgment than this.

    What happens with a kid who needs anti-seizure medication? Or someone with chronic migraines who has to take the migraine meds RIGHT THEN when they’re getting one? Are they expected to go down to the school nurse (if there’s even a nurse on duty*) and wait until the nurse is free to get helped?

    (*When I was in eighth grade, my class was having a study hall outdoors. On some very old wood bleachers. I slid over to help a friend with a math problem and wound up with a very large number of large splinters in my thigh. Recent budget cuts had necessitated that the school nurse “cycled” between the different schools in the district, and it was not her day to be on duty at the junior high. By good fortune, my MOM was at home and the principal called HER in to remove the splinters and treat the injuries.)

    The more I read “public school follies” the more I figure if I had a kid, he/she would be in private school or homeschooled.

  13. Richard Aubrey says:

    Ibuprofin or a bunch of eighth grade girls during PMS. Your choice, ‘crats.

    Jeez, this is stupid.

    Several years ago, East Stroudsburg gave pelvic exams, even to protesting jr hi kids. The PA dept of ed had so many calls for info they had a separate line with a recording of extensive rationalizations.

    What maroons.

  14. Miller Smith says:

    Mark Roulo, if the cops won’t come, then it is obviously not something to strip a girl naked for.

  15. Fortunately this is illegal in California.

  16. Chris said, “The vote was 6 to 5? What am I missing?”

    Similar to the recent Supreme Court decision on the second amendment, which was 5-4, the other scandal is that the vote of the court was 6-5, not 11-0. Don’t look to courts to protect your individual rights. They’re much too busy taking them away one by one.

  17. Margo/Mom says:

    “Chris said, “The vote was 6 to 5? What am I missing?”

    Similar to the recent Supreme Court decision on the second amendment, which was 5-4, the other scandal is that the vote of the court was 6-5, not 11-0. Don’t look to courts to protect your individual rights. They’re much too busy taking them away one by one.”

    Not so simple. The vote on whether the school acted appropriately had an 8-3 vote against. The 6-5 vote was on whether or not the Vice Principal had qualified immunity from prosecution. The indecision rested, apparently on whether the VP knew or ought to have know about a previous legal decision that was similar, but not the same. The previous decision dealt with the search of a purse–and the substance was something other than ibuprofen.

    I would say that the larger scandal was that the district’s legal counsel did not advise the district to ‘fess up and settle long before it got into an appeals court.

  18. Mrs. Davis writes:

    >If this had been done in a parochial or private school, what would law >enforcement’s reaction have been? But since civil servants committed >this act the brethren circle the wagons to protect one of their own >from the criminal prosecution so richly deserved.

    There is no criminal offense.

    Also, *only* because this is a government school could this civil rights case be brought.

    >I agree that the court in a civil suit brought by the parents who had >to pay for their attorney ruled in favor of the child and will no >doubt make a monetary award that the school district’s insurance >company will pay out after deductible with premiums to be raised in >the future on the backs of the taxpayers.

    The parents did not have to pay for their attorney; they were represented by the ACLU. But they still wouldn’t have to pay if they were represented by regular attorneys; these cases are done on a contingency basis, with the prevailing party’s attorneys being statutorily entitled to attorneys fees.

    Yes, all of this is ultimately paid by the taxpayer.

    >But if I heard that someone in authority had told my child to strip, >my first call would not be to my family attorney to commence civil >proceedings. It would be to the Police to have the alleged perpetrator >picked up on child molestation charges and with whatever else it is >the cops charge people like this.

    You can call whoever you want, but there is no crime.

    >Imagine the same thing had happened at a Catholic school with someone >from a religious order involved. Given what’s gone on with the priests >and kids, I suspect the situation would have been handled much >differently by the press and prosecutors. Why? Should not the public >schools be held to the same standard?

    I’m sure if there were the same history of pedophile teachers they would be.

    >This is not the first incident of this type we have read about. One >would think there would have been a moment of reflection after the >first one and the application of some judgment in future situations.

    I can’t disagree with this

    >But instead, the little Hitlers with their zero tolerance policies >continue to assault our children with impunity because they need not >fear individual personal criminal prosecution. Why not?

    Because they haven’t committed a crime?

Trackbacks

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