School principal orders 13-year old girl to be strip-searched for ibuprofen

By Expat98 · Jul 13, 2008 · ·
  1. Expat98
    Appeals court reinstates girl's strip-search case

    9th Circuit judges reinstate two other rulings in the case of Savana Redding, 13, who was searched for ibuprofen at school.

    By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    July 12, 2008

    Schools may not strip-search students for drugs based on an unverified tip, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

    Overturning two other rulings, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said an assistant principal at an Arizona middle school violated the constitutional rights of a 13-year-old by ordering her to be strip-searched. He thought the honor student had prescription-strength ibuprofen; she did not.

    The 6-5 ruling by the San Francisco-based court reinstated a lawsuit that a divided three-judge circuit panel threw out last year. The lawsuit was brought by the parents of Savana Redding, who was an eighth-grader at Safford Middle School in southeastern Arizona when the assistant principal ordered her out of math class and into his office to investigate whether she had violated a school policy that prohibited students from bringing medication -- even over-the-counter medication -- to school.

    Another student had Savana's school planner and some ibuprofen pills, school officials had found.

    That "frightened" student claimed Savana had given her the pills, the court said.

    Savana denied having done so.

    After a search of her pockets and backpack yielded nothing incriminatory, Kerry Wilson, the assistant principal, ordered his administrative assistant and a school nurse, both women, to force her to disrobe.

    "The officials had Savana peel off each layer of clothing in turn," wrote Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw for the majority.

    The girl stood in her bra and underwear while the two officials searched her clothes. Then she was ordered to partially remove her bra, exposing her breasts, and finally told to shake out the crotch of her underwear.

    "Hiding her head so that the adults could not see that she was about to cry, Savana complied and pulled out her underwear, revealing her pelvic area," Wardlaw wrote. "No ibuprofen was found."

    The search was unjustified, the court said, because officials made no attempt to corroborate the claim by a student who was "cornered" and "seeking to shift blame from herself."

    Forcing Savana to disrobe also was a "disproportionately extreme measure," the majority said.

    "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, an infraction that poses an imminent danger to no one, and which could have been handled by keeping her in the principal's office until a parent arrived or simply sending her home, was excessively intrusive," Wardlaw wrote, joined by Judges Harry Pregerson, Raymond C. Fisher, Richard A. Paez, Milan D. Smith Jr. and N. Randy Smith.

    The court cited arguments by the National Assn. of Social Workers that strip searches of children "can result in serious emotional damage, including the development of, or increase in, oppositional behavior."

    "And all this to find prescription-strength ibuprofen," Wardlaw wrote, noting that one pill has the strength of two over-the-counter Advil and might be commonly used by young women to treat menstrual cramps.

    The ruling said that Assistant Principal Wilson was liable for monetary damages but that his aide and the school nurse were not because they were acting under his orders.

    Judge Ronald M. Gould, joined by Judge Barry G. Silverman, dissented on the grounds that all the school officials had governmental immunity because the law was not clear at the time of the search.

    Judge Michael Daly Hawkins, joined by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski and Judge Carlos T. Bea, dissented on the grounds that the search was constitutional.

    Hawkins wrote: "School officials deserve the greatest latitude when responding to behavior that threatens the health and safety of students or teachers . . .

    "When school officials reasonably believe that a student is carrying a weapon or harmful drugs, it will rarely be unreasonable for them to do what they can to neutralize the danger."

    Although ibuprofen is mild, "that does not mean it is never harmful," Hawkins wrote.

    The ruling affects nine states, including California, that are under the 9th Circuit's jurisdiction.

    But California is one of at least seven states that prohibits strip searches of any student for any reason, the court said.

    Adam B. Wolf, a lawyer with the ACLU Foundation, which helped represent Savana, said the ruling "sends a clear message to school administrators nationwide that they need to respect certain student privacy and that they can't take the drastic step of strip-searching a student based on one uncorroborated tip."

    The lawyers for the school district were not available for comment.

    [email protected]


    Share This Article


  1. Nature Boy
    That is absolute madness. Whatever pervert ordered that measure should be sacked and publicly shamed. And all that for ibuprofen? Nuts.
  2. chillinwill
    This is absolutely wrong....even if it was for heroin, the school shouldn't be allowed to strip search the girl....they should call the police and do it but all of this just so the principal thought she had Rx Ibuprofen....IMHO, i think the principal is a pedo and wanted to just see the poor girl naked
  3. Panthers007
    If the child's family plays their cards right, the young girl just got a pre-paid ticket to an excellent education in the finest private schools/private tutors money can buy. Paid in full by that screwball school department.

    Different circumstances - but that's how I got my education. Der.......
  4. stoneinfocus
    And the nurses and everyone who didn't say no to this offence.

    This might be a scare-strategy, I know, totally nuts I am, for demonstrating that everything is possible, in the system you're in.

    Soon,the days like when panthers dould sue the shit out of those idiots, everybody joking about civil-rights violations, by officals and the consequences for those, will be gone, too, like they've never really existed in Europe, if not, those stories might make it to other countries, with the same things happening there and scare foreing people. <- Good one.
  5. Lobsang
    SWIM was searched in 9th grade. The principle was looking for a "tab of acid" as he put it. His friends were also searched. All based on a third persons report. But anyway nothing was found despite the fact that he had a dime bag of pot on him, Anyway this is only somewhat related but you should really watch this vid. It shows how strio search rights can be abused and how crazy people can be..
  6. Orchid_Suspiria
    If it isn't clear that the time for anarchy and revolt is here from this what else does it take?
  7. enquirewithin
    There is certainly a chance of that. Perhaps the family should bring charges. If they principle was a Catholic priest, the Church would pay out quick enough!
  8. Orchid_Suspiria
    Most authority figures,the ones that seek to repress healthy sexual urges and urge to alter ones conscious are more fucked up than they would ever let their friends know at a dinner party of wine and cigarettes.The chances of this sick little fuckwhit being a kiddie fiddler are pretty high indeed.
  9. Panthers007
    I'll (try as I might) never forget the Assistant Principle of the Junior High I dropped out of in 7th grade - to pursue a REAL education (you tell me if I got what I wanted).

    Mr. Murch would always approach me from behind and grab my ass with both hands and feel around. He was "looking for weapons."
  10. stoneinfocus
    What's even better, you can bring up such an issue which addresses the sense of righteousness pretty damn timed at turningpoints of the developtment of certain pupils, regard the behaviour of the those(preselected ones, usually intelligent and/or smart and eager to earn more money, thanthe average) when this situation is being discussed and according to their reactions after the system's and selected pupils' preferencesmake their career work(or not), ... no, not for us, just for them... my father, an old fascist, probably faked birthdate, told me somehow, that it just took time to make these mechanisms work, it's not very obvious and some faults and essentially paradoxically errors concerning humanity or maybe hindering the forthcomig of the oppressive systeme are tolerated and evened out due to the time which passes by and those steady mechanisms, being exerted by greedy slaves and idiots and the pace set.
  11. vinylmesh
    the principal probably had cctv in the room and now paedos are looking at it on the web.
  12. MountainDeW
    This is ridiculous. I can understand having nurses search her pockets and backpack, but strip searching is over the line. She went to school and expected a normal day and was thrown into a situation where she was treated like an adult criminal in prison. At 13 there is no reason to strip search a child and possibly cause serious problems. This administrator should be fired and held responsible for monetary compensation.
  13. Burnt
    what ever happened to the 4th amendment?
  14. Expat98
    As you can see, it's been upheld in this particular case, although you'd be completely justified in asking that question in a great many other cases.
  15. Burnt
    agreed and thankfully for that poor girls sake. it just shocks me that people think they have the right to invade someones privacy like that.
  16. superwoman
    LMAO! How true. This is so sick. That poor girl....for ibuprofen? Since when is that illegal.

    God help them if that was my kid!

    FYI- Swim is a recovering catholic (schoolgirl) :laugh:
  17. discodave
    what a disgusting little law and how ignorant of the dissenting pompous little judges. they deserve to be forcibly disrobed and anally probed for signs of intelligence. teen girls being forcibly strip searched, with the backing of society? what kind of "civilization" is that? it doesn't strike me as civilised. "may increase oppositional behaviour"? i sure hope so.
  18. Lobsang
    Well what the girl should have done ideally was totally refuse and then force the people in "authority" to forcibly manhandle her to achieve the search. Now that would even make a better case.
  19. discodave
    brilliant! i'm sorry to say this news story got me going, perhaps i am naive to believe authorities should be nurturing not dehumanising but what can you do, it's not even my country; you shouldn't send your kids to school if the care-givers are going to illegally assault and humiliate them - i wouldn't.
  20. Ontherooftops
    Yes, ideally.

    But our youth is raised in a world where rebellion can have grave consequences. The government and media do their best to establish the idea that the powers that be know whats best for their people, etc. The idea that she COULD stand up to the principal, without putting her future at risk, likely didn't even cross her mind.

    This article makes me so very sad and afraid for the future of our country...
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!