Strip Search of Student Was Illegal, Top Court Says


Greg Stohr
Bloomberg
June 25, 2009

The U.S. Supreme Court, bolstering the constitutional protections for students, said a 13-year-old girl’s rights were violated when school officials strip searched her in an effort to find pain relievers.

The justices, voting 8-1, said that strip searches are “categorically distinct” from other types of intrusions on student privacy and are justified only in limited circumstances, as when children are in danger.

[efoods]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,” Justice David Souter wrote for the court.

The decision is a victory for Savana Redding, who was ordered to partially disrobe and then shake out her bra and underwear in front of two female staff members at her Arizona middle school. Another student had reported that Savana was distributing prescription-strength ibuprofen.

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