Thursday, June 25, 2009

SCOTUS rules against school strip searches

NYT on a SCOTUS decision dated today.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a school's strip search of an Arizona teenage girl accused of having prescription-strength ibuprofen was illegal.

The court ruled 8-1 on Thursday that school officials violated the law with their search of Savana Redding in the rural eastern Arizona town of Safford.

I've been sort of following this case and wondering how it would come out.

Now, I've been strip searched. At my age, it's actually kinda fun. Heh. Lemme 'splain. The more squeamish amongst you might want to skip this part.

Our county jail, "Wayne's World", has a wonderful program of providing inmate working parties to various local outfits - the food bank, recycling center, the Elks Club, and other places. It's free labor for them and a chance for minimum security inmates to get outta the jailhouse for the day. Everybody wins.

The fun starts when the inmates get back to the jail at the end of the day. A deputy is there to make sure no one has brought in any contraband. Everybody strips down. The deputy then has everybody face away from him and bend over and spread 'em. He's looking for stuff like cigarettes and dope, but they've found cell phones and no doubt fire axes. There are inmates who can keester anything.

They searched me that way exactly once. Not only did they quickly realize I was just an old fart who wanted to do his few days without incident and go home, but that I was having way too much fun essentially mooning a cop. Hell yeah I was! You don't get a chance to wink at a cop that way very often! Or let a ripping great fart at him either (I apologized of course, but my shit-eatin' grin might have led them to believe I was less than sincere). I think the cops' union might have gotten involved, something about 'cruel and unusual' or psychological trauma, maybe workplace safety, who knows.

I just told that story for fun, but here's my point:

A strip search in jail is one thing. It's perfectly acceptable, and there's no point in getting uptight about it because you have no choice in the matter anyway. You might not like it, but the cops don't either. It's adults searching adults in a known state-controlled prescribed manner for safety and discipline reasons. If you're shy or think it's degrading, tough shit, that's the way it is. Obey the law or don't get caught and it will never happen to you.

A strip search of a teenage girl in Middle School based on mere accusations from other teenage girls that she might have ibuprofen in her pants is unconscionable on its face. Period. Schools need to keep harmful substances out and have rules about prescription drugs, intended to keep out things like oxycodone, opiates, barbiturates, all the fun medicine cabinet pharmaceuticals that kids like and shouldn't have.

For school officials to interpret the rules against prescription drugs so stringently as to include things that the student might actually need, and then to humiliate a youngster without much reason just because they can is despicable.

Well, now they can't, and kudos to the highest court in the land for recognizing the obvious.

One more thing: 8-1. Who's the '1'? Who d'ya think would go against so predictable a ruling? I guessed it correctly and damn near broke my arm patting myself on the back when I looked up Safford Unified School District v. April Redding, 08-479. Damn, I'm glad I didn't become a lawyer like my parents thought I should and have to read that shit all the time as part of my job. All I ever had to read was repair orders and service manuals, thank you Lord!

By deciding that it is better equipped to decide what behavior should be permitted in schools, the Court has undercut student safety and undermined the authority of school administrators and local officials. Even more troubling, it has done so in a case in which the underlying response by school administrators was reasonable and justified. I cannot join this regrettable decision. I, therefore, respectfully dissent from the Court’s determination that this search violated the Fourth Amendment.

I'll let you go see who it was, but I'll give you a hint: not only was this Justice the worst choice for that bench in history, the terms 'far right' and 'affirmative action hire' are involved.

Also, watch for the wingtards to flap their jaws about 'activist judges' over this. Might happen, might not, but anything that takes power over people away from the 'ruling elite' is obviously the work of commies on the court, or worse, Liberals like Roberts and Alito.

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