If there’s one substance scary and dangerous enough to justify searching a 13-year-old girl’s genitals, it would have to be…extra-strength Advil:
She was 13 and in eighth grade.
An assistant principal, enforcing the school’s antidrug policies, suspected her of having brought prescription-strength ibuprofen pills to school. One of the pills is as strong as two Advils.
The search by two female school employees was methodical and humiliating, Ms. Redding said. After she had stripped to her underwear, “they asked me to pull out my bra and move it from side to side,” she said. “They made me open my legs and pull out my underwear.”
Ms. Redding, an honors student, had no pills. But she had a furious mother and a lawyer, and now her case has reached the Supreme Court, which will hear arguments on April 21. [NYT]
This story made me shudder twice, first when I learned of Savana Redding’s degrading treatment, and again when I considered the very real possibility that the current Supreme Court may conclude that such sickening behavior by school officials is permissible under the 4th Amendment.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit found that the search violated Redding’s right against unreasonable searches, but the outcome could be very different once the Supreme Court weighs in on the matter. As a general rule, it’s not a good sign when the Supreme Court decides to review a good 4th Amendment ruling from the 9th Circuit. The Court will have to determine whether the school officials’ suspicions were reasonable based on the available information and whether the search was an appropriate response to their concerns.
If they run into any trouble sorting it all out, I recommend looking up “unreasonable” in the dictionary.