Thursday, July 24, 2008

13-Year-Old Strip Searched at School Over Advil

Apparently the Safford Middle School, (Safford, AZ) thinks it is the Bush administration, and well within its rights to circumvent the law and the constitution in its own war, this war being the one on those evil D-R-U-G-S known as ibuprofen.

With an accusation from one student, the school district strip searched a 13-year-old eighth grade student over two alleged Advil pills. According to the press release, another student got caught with the medicine. Facing discipline she stated Savana Redding gave her the pills. That was enough information for a search of her personal belongings, which rendered no pills. That was not enough for the school district, which then took the child to the nurse’s office and performed a strip search. All of this occurred without any parental knowledge or notification.

The exposure yielded nothing. And in case you are wondering, the press release stated that young Miss Redding had “no history of disciplinary problems or substance abuse”.

As crazy as this sounds, the first court sided with the school district, but a federal appellate court ruled otherwise (Redding v. Safford Unified School District, No. 05-15759), finding the school’s actions unconstitutional. Damn that evil ACLU for protecting the rights of its citizens against unwarranted and illegal search.

Said the court: “A reasonable school official, seeking to protect the students in his charge, does not subject a thirteen-year-old girl to a traumatic search to ‘protect’ her from the danger of Advil,” the court wrote in today’s opinion. “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.”

Where is the common sense? Bush illegally wiretaps without a FISA court order and a school district strip searches a 13-year-old without parental notification? I know I am not teaching yet, but something seems quite amiss.

Our favorite Internet Granny and ACLU operative posted the alert and this teacher jumped on the story.


Sky Girl said...

I send my son to public school for the first time in 3 weeks. Stories like this scare the heck out of me.

Anonymous said...

NO Parental notification:

When you set precedence such as handing out condoms,non-parental notification in other issues, indoctrinate them in sexuality issues, forced seating in supposed culture lectures aka Islamic tolerance classes but the Koran (Quran) is presented in school with the bowing to MECCA etc. Where is the ACLU on this one. If Jack is studying to be an educator this is what he is entering.

Nothing in the article stated that the parents were not notified nor contacted nor that they were - pure assumption. If we want to go on assumptions then let's say they tried but they were unable to contact the parents and because of this they had to pursue the next course of action, take care of it themselves for the purpose of ascertaining the truth. Not unlike our judicial system where all involved must be cleared of complicity - aka co-conspirators. ". . . uncorroborated accusation" or another way of involving others to throw off the scent of the hunt. Back to the article. First of all does the school have the right to search lockers, is it in their written policies; was the strip search performed by a female staff member or security for the purpose of non-destruction of the very needed evidence for the school district to pursue disciplinary measures and protection form liabilities, is it in their written policies?

This is where the no-tolerance policies are more treacherous than the old approach where the educational system is allowed to use common-sense in its decisions that relate to administrative procedures with regards to discipline. Educators are backed against the wall with liability suits etc. hence the no-tolerance rules to fall on. Maybe this is where the frivolous lawsuit would offer protection to either side - if they are right. Otherwise litigation for litigation sake should have a price to pay when you drag someone through a costly trip of vindictive terror.

Somehow I feel there is more to this story than what has been written.

And of course in San Francisco, the Ninth Circuit of Appeals known to be non-conservative, but the vote 6-5 very close. Some hesitation there - I wonder how long the deliberation. Would have been interesting the same case in the 8th Circuit.

Jack I have read that you are pursuing the life as an educator and I wish you great fortune. It is a perilous journey, it seems. All I can hope for is that my children's teachers teach the subject at hand as they are contracted and do not let un-professional biases, bigotries, racist, sexist and any other non-subject specific prejudices enter the classroom. For these I believe the educator should likewise be made accountable. Physical humiliation, mental humiliation, either one or both have no place in the school or better yet anywhere. Adults should be capable of making their own decisions on issues; however, children do not have the experience nor maturity to do this. When only one side of an issue is presented without consideration of the other then this is indoctrination and that is very dangerous.

admin said...

Dear Anonymous Reader:

Thanks for posting. Education is a difficult and perilous journey, to be sure. I think you missed this VERY important quote from the article:

"No attempt was made to contact Redding’s parents prior to conducting the strip search."

As you can see, I did not infer that the parents were not contacted. Rather, that information was part of the news release.

Furthermore, I would challenge you to find any public school in Missouri (or the US for that matter) that mandates that children bow to Mecca or read the Koran.

I am sure interested in that, but I don't think it really happens in the way you are characterizing it. You are welcome to post the links here.

We do agree that zero-tolerance policies can strip an administrator's ability to use common sense. As for strip searches, I do not believe (written policy or not) that a school has that right. I don't know for sure. That is my assumption.

Again, thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...


My apologies for having overlooked the section of the parental notification. My error.:-(

Recent article links: They would not mandate it; however, it is expected until caught - in their way of thinking hopefully not.

Subtle, incremental incursions, out of view and focus until it becomes the norm and expected.

Respectfully submitted,