Friday, July 11, 2008

Decision in Arizona case restores Fourth Amendment to schools

In a major slap-down to holding-pen ... err ... public-school control-freakery, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (PDF) that there actually are limits to the power of educrats to grope and humiliate their charges in search of illicit over-the-counter medications.

From the opinion, here are the details of the search of 13-year-old Savana Redding, which took place in Safford, Arizona:

First, Savana removed her socks, shoes and jacket for inspection for ibuprofen. The officials found nothing. Then, Romero asked Savana to remove her T-shirt and stretch pants. Embarrassed and scared, Savana complied and sat in her bra and underwear while the two adults examined her clothes. Again, the officials found nothing. Still progressing with the search, despite receiving only corroboration of Savana’s pleas that she did not have any ibuprofen, Romero instructed Savana to pull her bra out to the side and shake it. Savana followed the instructions, exposing her naked breasts in the process. The shaking failed to dislodge any pills. Romero next requested that Savana pull out her underwear at the crotch and shake it. 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. No ibuprofen was found. The school officials finally stopped and told Savana to put her clothes back on and accompany Romero back to Wilson’s office.

Yes, the school had a firm-and-fast rule against the sort of medications almost everybody keeps in their medicine cabinet for casual use. As insane as that seems, it's a concern best addressed separately.

Earlier court decisions had given a rousing thumbs-up to Redding's ordeal, but the appeals court had second thoughts. Writing for the majority, Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw said:

Common sense informs us that directing a thirteen-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 be handled by keeping her in the principal’s office until a parent arrived or simply sending her home, was excessively intrusive.

Logically enough, the court found that "The strip search of thirteen-year-old Savana ... was conducted in violation of Savana’s Fourth Amendment rights."

Good. Not only is that ruling a sound recognition of the rights of the individual, but it will spare many fathers and mothers the unpleasant necessity to go forth and do violence to school administrators who abuse their children.

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Blogger Kevin B. O'Reilly said...

Hmm. Polls aren't credible at this point. The key number to look at is Barr's lousy fundraising totals. Barely a half million and it's a month and a half since the nomination. I just don't see Barr making a difference. He might get some voters in Georgia on name recognition, but not enough to swing the state.

July 11, 2008 9:31 PM  
Blogger J.D. Tuccille said...

I guess you had a couple of tabs open at the same time, eh? ;)

Anyway, you may be right about Barr, although his fundraising has picked up steam over the past couple of weeks. As third-party candidates go, sad to say, those numbers are pretty good -- especially for July. By and large, people are hesitant to throw money away to tilt at windmills, which is what most third-party campaigns are.

But the sort of press coverage Barr is drawing has a tendency to shape a new reality. He's being treated as relevant -- not as a contender for the White House, but as somebody who can affect the election. In particular, he's increasingly seen as a vehicle for sending a small-government, pro-liberty message to the major parties. I wouldn't be surprised to see his fundraising pick up as people who wouldn't normally donate decide his campaign serves a purpose after all.

Let's keep an eye on those numbers -- both polls and fundraising -- and revisit the issue going forward. If he can maintain an air of relevance, he may well have the biggest impact of any Libertarian presidential candidate to-date.

July 12, 2008 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a very simple solution for this problem. I would have the parent file child abuse, child molestation, and sexual molestation charges against this people and ask for a temppray restraining order preventing them from being within 100 ft of a child. A conviction of any of these charges would assure us that these idiots would never harm another child. At least they would never work for a school system again.

July 16, 2008 6:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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March 19, 2009 1:14 AM  

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