Sup. Court Ruled: Student Strip Search for Advil, Violated Constitution

June 26, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week on the strip search case of a then, 13-year-old female student suspected of hiding ibuprofen tablets, rightfully deciding the degrading search violated the girl’s constitutional rights.

The court found that Arizona school officials overreacted and that an excessively intrusive strip search was not legally warranted to search for a couple of Advil tablets in a young girl’s underwear, based on vague evidence against the student.

In a majority vote of 8 to 1 with only Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting, the Supreme Court ruled that Savana Redding’s constitutional rights against unreasonable search or seizure, were violated by the Arizona school officials.

The applicable legal standard relied upon by the court states; schools may not conduct strip searches that are “excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction.”

Just Souter writing the majority opinion, reasoned that searching inside Savana Redding’s underwear for ibuprofen violated the legal standard against strip searches in every possible way. First, by overreacting to vague accusations that she violated school policy by possessing the ibuprofen.

Secondly, by not considering the age and sex of the student and the minor harm a couple of Advil pills could cause to other students in the school.

What was missing, “was any indication of danger to the students from the power of the drugs or their quantity, and any reason to suppose that Savana was carrying pills in her underwear,” wrote Souter.

“The meaning of such a search, and the degradation its subject may reasonably feel, place a search that intrusive in a category of its own demanding its own specific suspicions,” Souter added.

Savana Redding’s troubles began when another student was caught with two ibuprofen pills and she accused Redding of giving them to her. Redding, a shy honors student, was pulled from her classroom by assistant principal Kerry Wilson and agreed to a search of her backpack and outer garments.

When no drugs were found, Wilson sent Redding into the nurse’s office and was made to strip down to her underwear, ordered to pull her bra and underpants away from her body so the nurse could check her private areas for drugs.

No drugs were found and Redding was so traumatized and humiliated from the experience, she never returned to school.

With the court’s ruling now on her side, she can proceed with her civil case against the school district, but not against the assistant principal, with the court finding his good faith intentions shielded him from personal liability based on the doctrine of official immunity.

Redding, now 19-years-old and in College, is pleased with the decision and relieved that her efforts may save other students from the trauma that she suffered at the hands of overreaching school officials who abused their authority.



2 Responses to “Sup. Court Ruled: Student Strip Search for Advil, Violated Constitution”

  1. Old Man Dotes on June 26th, 2009 2:56 pm

    What about the hidden cameras that assistant principal had in the nurse’s office? Aren’t those a violation, too?

  2. Kimberly on June 29th, 2009 4:55 pm

    why did they let the assitant off the hook? he is sick and should be arrested. that should be classified as assault!

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