I remember reading about this case some time ago and it raised my ire to the roof. Having little girls myself, I cannot imagine one of them calling me from school to tell me that this happened to them.
In 2003, an Arizona 13 year old was removed from her classroom by her school principal on suspicion that she had given ibuprofen to other classmates. The claim was made by a fellow teen even though there was no grounds found for the accusation. She was taken into the school office and her bag was searched, as was her locker and nothing was found. The child maintained her innocence but was then strip searched by two female employees of the school (one was the school nurse).
The girl had no history of discipline problems and no ibuprofen was ever found.
Her lawsuit maintains that the school went too far over the line, with no evidence or even suspicion that she had given ibuprofen to anyone - it was simply based on one teenager a fabricated story that lead to the removal or the girl from class and an ensuing strip search without her parents present. The child said she was humiliated and very frightened and had no idea why this was done to her. Her suit asserts that while keeping a school drug free is important - and lawful - a strip search like this went far over the line of reasonable behavior.
The school maintains that the strip search was necessary due to the increasing abuse of over the counter drugs by teenagers and that the best interests of the school were being served.
This lawsuit may decide what rights students have in school, and what rights school administrator's have in order to keep their schools safe and drug free.
The girl won her right to take this case to the Supreme Court, via an appeal (the initial courts had deemed the search reasonable) won through the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. That court stated that "Common sense informs us that directing a 13-year-old girl to remove her clothes, partially revealing her breasts and pelvic area, for allegedly possessing ibuprofen ... was excessively intrusive."
While it's important that we teach our children to have respect for their teachers and to abide by school rules, surely our children have the right to call their parents and have them present before there is even talk of a humiliating and frightening strip search. I can only hope my children know that under no circumstances can anyone touch them in this manner, especially over nothing more than the unfounded accusations of another child.
Do you think this girl is right to take this case to the Supreme Court? Or do you think the school acted in a lawful and rational manner?
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