I am pleasantly surprised to report that the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against the Arizona school that strip searched Savana Redding. Redding, who was 13 years old at the time, was ordered to remove her clothes and shake out her underwear because she was suspected of carrying pills. They turned out to be two Ibuprofen. The Court ruled that the middle school went too far, violating the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches. However, they ruled that school officials cannot be held financially liable. Read the full opinion here.
“The court’s decision sends a clear signal to school officials that they can strip search students only in the most extraordinary situations,” said Redding’s lawyer, Adam Wolf. It’s good news, but not a huge victory for civil liberties. Strip searches are still allowed but they will happen less frequently. School officials have to meet a higher burden of evidence in order to strip search students. “This other kid says she’s got drugs” is not sufficient.
Naturally, Thomas argued for a return to in loco parentis standards in his dissent. The man’s never met a police state he didn’t like. “It was eminently reasonable to conclude the backpack was empty because Redding was secreting the pills in a place should thought no one would look,” he said.