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Where Should School Antidrug Policies Draw the Line?

When an assistant principle wrongly suspected 13-year-old Savana Redding of bringing prescription-strength ibuprofen pills to school (one pill is the equivalent to two Advil, mind you), Savana was forced to undergo a nude strip search. She recounted, "they asked me to pull out my bra and move it from side to side. They made me open my legs and pull out my underwear.”

For months after the incident, Savana stayed home from school to do her studies, and she eventually transferred. Now the Supreme Court will decide whether Savana can sue the school officials for forcing her to strip naked and expose herself to them. The officials argue that they had good reason to suspect Savana of having the drugs.

A lower court has ruled that the school conducted an unreasonable search, but one judge dissented because he said the school was acting in good faith to stop a potential threat to student safety.

While I find it extreme to humiliate a girl for ibuprofen, do you think strip searches in schools always go too far?


Join The Conversation
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
At my first high school I HAD to have a note from my parents to even have paracetamol, and a teacher had to open the blister pack for me. But schools here have relaxed a bit over the past couple of years, mostly because of the number of girls missing classes because they're not allowed pain relief at school. It's rather horrifying when you go to the nurse for a heatpack, but they're all gone because ten other period stricken girls have got them.
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
WOW - The full story is even MORE cringe inducing than this little snippet...
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
And Dave, in answer to your question, no they're not responsible. I was speaking more from personal frustration about something going on in the schools with my OWN son than anything else. However, I DO feel the school districts need SOME sort of wake up call. Like I said before, they will go to extremes over ibuprofen, but when it comes to actual physical violence, their hands are tied? Something is wrong with that.
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
UnDave, it's so true. It goes all the way to the basics of a seatbelt law, which in my opinion is utterly absurd. If someone would like to get into a car, not wear their seatbelt KNOWING that there is a good possibility they will die if they are involved in an accident, then I say MORE POWER TO THEM. However, I will say that a BIG part of the problem are in fact parents as well as the regulations. When we send our kids to school, the teachers should be allowed to TEACH. They are not the parents of these kids WE are. We ask a lot of them. Now granted, they take alot of liberties (The spanking that Caterpillar dealt with is a prime example.) However, many of the regulations that are in place, such as the monitoring of medicines etc. etc. etc. were put in place because the parents WEREN'T taking responsibility. When kids get in trouble at school and the parents are called, the parent should go in with the attitude that they don't have the whole story, instead of the attitude "What did this damn school do to my kid again?!?!!?!" I see it way too often. We have to show the kids that they can't walk all over Us OR the schools, and to do that we have to tell them they're wrong when they're wrong. We can't pussy foot around it anymore, because the government are now telling us HOW to parent. We can't spank our kids, that's abuse. Put some tobasco on their tongue because they used a swear word? Abuse. Discipline them in the grocery store when they act unruly? Abuse. Yet, when a child is physically assaulted at school by another student, NOTHING HAPPENS. It's gotten crazy, and while this type of thing is absolutely and utterly disgusting, it's our own fault that it's gotten here.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
"This is utterly ridiculous and I hope that girl OWNS the school district when this is through." Doesn't that punish the wrong people? A costly lawsuit only hurts the people who pay the taxes that fund that school system. Are they responsible for this man's actions? Should that man be fired, yes.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
"Use those things in your heads called BRAINS." That went out in leu of rules decades ago. We've become a society of rules so we don't have to think. This is just an end result of this attitude
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
OH my good lord. FOR IBUPROFEN????????? This is utterly ridiculous and I hope that girl OWNS the school district when this is through. I understand the need for this, but really they need to use some common sense. Suspect a kid of having cocaine? Okay, search him. With good evidence even go and search his locker, his backpack etc. However, if it's IBUPROFEN you think the kid has? OMG. Use those things in your heads called BRAINS. Because what's going to happen if that girl takes a prescription strength ibuprofen? OH LORD, SHE WON'T BE IN PAIN ANYMORE! ARGH! It's so ridiculous that I have to have a doctors instructions sent to school with my son every year so that he can take claritin. CLARITIN! AN ALLERGY PILL! Sorry for the caps, but this subject really pi**es me off.
siguros siguros 8 years
I wonder if they conducted this search with the parents permission... This kind of seems ridiculous.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
CG- That story is so horrible! I try not to judge what people do in their own homes as far as spanking goes, but as a former teacher I'd have to say there are many good rationales for not allowing them to hit other peoples' children, especially because teachers are trained in many successful techniques that allow them to get their classes in order without resorting to violence. A teacher who claims he/she can't get order without becoming violent with the children is just a crappy teacher as far as I'm concerned. I agree with Stephley- if the admin. is concerned enough about that a student is possessing, the police should be called. I am sure it would still be embarrassing to be searched by the police, but they are trained in this and not people you'd see every day. And I can't imagine needing to resort to strip searching a student for anything less than a weapon (and then a pat-down should suffice) or possibly coke or heroin. However, I would think that they'd need better reasons to search the student than the word of another student, unless it was a weapon! bastley- at my school we weren't allowed to carry vitamins, or even non-prescription strength painkillers. However, with a doctor's note, you could keep medications at the nurse's office, she'd dispense them. So, when you had your period, you would have to miss class once or twice a day to go sit in the nurse's office for a few days. Usually you'd end up missing a whole class because she'd be busy tending to actual sick children. Also, we had to use one our 15 "hall passes" we got a month to see the nurse. So between needing to go to the bathroom more often when you had your period, and going to the nurse, girls didn't get much of a chance to use the hall pass to go to the library to get a book during class, or to leave study hall to see a teacher. Our school was absurdly authoritarian.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
She should be able to sue the school, this sounds as bad as the McDonald's strip search incident. Anyone with an ounce of intellegence would know that if you did think she had drugs on her to keep her in the principles offices and call her parents and the police. My question is No Drugs means a student can't bring a medication that is prescribed to them to school?
dm8bri dm8bri 8 years
Again, ridiculous. Why weren't the parents involved?
zeze zeze 8 years
I would love to see how exactly this judge ruled on this case - how can this be ok without parental consent?!!!! CG - I am very happy your dad drew blood, I'm not so sure I would not have pointed the gun!
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
OMG that is going wayyyy too far. That's humiliating and degrading. If they really suspected drugs they should have called in the authorities.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
oh my god that story is horrible. Why would they do that to that poor girl?? Her parents weren't even there?!?! wow. speechless.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Mich, I just called him and asked him what happened. He said he never pointed the gun, that he put it down and punched the man when he asked "did you spank my daughter" and the guy said "yes" he swung. thats so after school special material isnt it?
ladyr ladyr 8 years
I agree with Steph. And CG, I'm so sorry that happened to you! That is just awful. It is so pathetic when people abuse their authority to make themselves feel more powerful.
janneth janneth 8 years
Michelann Michelann 8 years
CG, that's so awful. I kind of hope your dad did hit him.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Personally, I don't think that the school system can be too careful, but a strip search was out of line. If they were concerned, the parents should've been called, and if the parents couldn't be reached, then call the police.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Oh.My.Gosh. That poor girl, I understand the rule about not bringing pills to school, even tylenol or ibuprofen etc, but strip searching a child? SHOULD NEVER BE ALOUD. That principal needs to be arrested for child abuse, lewd behavior, whatever. a VERY similar thing happened to me. I wasnt spanked as a child, and i grew up when teachers were still aloud to spank. My parents had signed a paper prohibiting them from spanking me if i got into trouble. On the day that we were supposed to bring in our "interims" signed by our parents, I forgot mine in my dads car, they didnt believe me and i went to the principals office. Now my dads hardware business, RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET! so i am telling the bald pale sweaty man who is now brandishing his paddle and telling me to pull up my dress and lean over his desk that I FORGOT IT PLEASE CALL MY DAD and YOU ARENT ALOUD TO SPANK ME! He ignored me, and I cried , I actually wailed, and he told me to assume the position again and I refused so he threatened me with "not going on the school field trip to the Kennedy Space Center" the next week and since I was dying to go, I assumed the position. I pulled up my skirt, and he yanked down my underpants (This is 5th grade) and paddled me ruthlessly. I peed myself, then yanked up my underpants pulled my skirt down and RAN OUT OF HIS ROOM across the street to my father, he deciphered my blubbering, took one look at my now red behind grabbed his shotgun out of his truck and went across the street. I never saw what went on inside, but the cops were called and there was alot of yelling and my principal had blood on his face, I think my dad probably hit him, I hope he did.I switched schools afterwords. That event affected me bigtime, so much so that big wooden desks make me cringe. I cannot imagine what the girl in this story will have to deal with.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I agree with everyone. And, I would go one step further and say that, not only does she have the right to sue the school, but that there should be a criminal investigation against the school.
luna08 luna08 8 years
Seriously, minors can't even be questioned by the police without a parent present, but a school can strip search a minor? Over ibuprofen?
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
for some ibprofen??? Have they never heard of period pain? that was uncalled and she should not have stripped without her parents and the relevant authorities being informed and present
tyffi tyffi 8 years
I'm totally with stephley. The school should have called the parents and the police - after all, that girl was 13 then. One way or another, school officials should never ever perform a nude search on a student. What about the dignity of the students?
Roarman Roarman 8 years
And how are pain relievers a threat to the school?
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