Supreme Court Ruling on School Strip Searches - And What It Means

The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that schools cannot strip search students, with Clarence Thomas as the lone dissenter. In the case, a 13 year old was accused of having ibuprofen by an ex-friend. Though the school never searched her locker or desk, they strip searched the girl. For ibuprofen.

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.

I've already discussed why I feel that this was assault, so I won't go into that again. The ruling, however, was interesting.

  • He seems to feel that there's something inherently wrong with second-guessing educators' decisions. Why? Isn't a wise to have someone double checking to make sure that people are doing the right thing?
  • He believes that a strip search helps "ensure the health and safety" of students, when quite the opposite is true. This strip search was extremely detrimental to the health and safety of the girl. She felt abused - which is exactly what she was. In the rare cases when a strip search is necessary, call trained professionals: the police.
The other interesting aspect of the ruling was that only two justices felt that the school administrators should not be shielded from liability. It is no shock at all that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only woman, was one of those two.
Justice Ginsburg singled out the assistant principal, noting that he had made Savana sit on a chair outside his office for more than two hours in what Justice Ginsburg called a “humiliating situation” when the case was argued.
“At no point did he attempt to call her parent,” Justice Ginsburg wrote on Thursday. “Abuse of authority of that order should not be shielded by official immunity.
Indeed. You don't need to know the law to know that the following is completely inappropriate: searching a child's panties for painkillers - but never, say, searching her locker or her desk - and never calling her parents. And then making the child sit outside the office even though they never found anything!
Unfortunately, only two of the seven judges could understand that the school administrators abused this girl.
This is why we need more women on the Supreme Court. Women will not only be more likely to understand issues like this, but through sharing their experiences, they can help men understand.