Man... it's not too often I find myself agreeing with the ACLU, and disagreeing with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas - but it does happen, from time to time.
If you haven't heard about Savana Redding, here's what happened in a nutshell - there's plenty of detailed info available all over the internet.
Basically, Savana Redding was a 13 year old honor student who had never been in any trouble. The school which she attended, has a strict policy against students possessing over the counter or prescription drugs of any kind. If a kid has to take medicine - it stays in the nurses office until its time for them to take it.
Sounds reasonable enough so far?
Another girl in the school was caught with some tablets of Prescription Ibuprofen. When the school officials pressed her to reveal her "source", she fingered Ms. Redding. The officials then called Ms. Redding to the office, to ask her some questions. When they weren't satisfied with her answers, they searched her backpack.
Its not unlikely that a student caught with a banned substance might finger an innocent party, rather than the friend that actually gave them the drugs - but the school is still well within their rights to search the student and her bag for the pills. I'd be disappointed in them if they didn't.
Here's where the wheels start to fall off the wagon.
When the school administrators failed to find anything, they took Ms. Redding to the nurses office and searched her person. When no pills were found in her clothing, they ordered her to:
"take off her shirt and pants. Redding said they then told her to move her bra to the side and to stretch her underwear waistband, exposing her breasts and pelvic area. No pills were found."
The Supreme Court issued it's ruling today, stating 8-1 that the school had overstepped its bounds in strip searching the 13 year old. The only dissenter was Clarence Thomas, which is disappointing because I generally like him.
Kids within schools don't have the same "rights" as adults do. Some people don't like to hear that, but its a basic truth that has held true for all time. The school, IMO, has the right to search lockers, backpacks, and even cars in the parking lot if they think it's justified. We place an ENORMOUS amount of responsibility on our schools to keep our kids safe when they are there. If I suspected my kid of being up to something, I would have searched her room, backpack, vehicle, - whatever. I think the school has to be able to do the same. When my daughter was in school, I wouldn't have had any problems with them searching her locker or her backpack under the circumstance described.
Had they STRIP SEARCHED her without my knowledge and consent, on the other hand, I'm afraid the administrators in question would have had a little difficulty on their way home from work the next day.
Unrelated note: How the hell can the word "internet" not be in blogger's spell check??