Strip Search at School: Was it assault?

I often debate as to whether this blog should be strictly tech-based, but then I read these articles that, well, get to me. To change the statistic that 25% of women are sexually assaulted, people need to start talking about it.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard argument on a case where a 13 year old girl - an honor student who had never been in trouble - was strip searched at school because she was suspected of having ibuprofen. Now, if that doesn't infuriate you already, listen to the facts of the case:

Redding says she was then asked to strip down to her underwear and stood there while the nurse and secretary inspected her clothes and shoes.

"Then, you know, I thought they were going to let me put my clothes back on, but instead they asked me to pull out my bra and shake it, and the crotch on my underwear, too," Redding says.

Redding says her whole body was visible to the school administrators. She kept her head down so the nurse and the secretary couldn't see her fighting back tears.

And all this for what is basically Advil. Ugh.

This was more than a strip search. This was assault:

  1. A young girl was forced to show her private parts.
  2. The school did not search the girl's locker or desk, but they did search the girl's crotch.
  3. The harm in traumatizing a girl far outweighs the harm of a couple of students from taking ibuprofen.

When you look at these facts, you see that the school's search was not conducted in a way to find the ibuprofen (since they didn't search the girl's locker or desk), nor did they balance the harm of an invasive search against the risks of mild pain killers. Thus, it seems that the administrators were on a powertrip that ended in assaulting a girl.

I hope that the Supreme Court makes the right decision. While there is a time and place to do strip searches (eg, in jail), school officials are not trained to do so. If you think a student poses that much of a danger that an invasive search is required, then call the cops. Strip searches should never be conducted by school officials.