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Monday, March 03, 2008

Principal Orders Eigth Grader Strip Searched for Ibuprofen

This month the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is scheduled to rehear a case involving a Tucson, AZ eighth-grader who was strip-searched by school administrators enforcing a "zero tolerance" drug policy.
"The drugs in question were ibuoprofen pills -- prescription-strength, 400-milligram pills (equivalent to a couple over-the-counter Advil caplets), but nothing anyone would or could use to get high."

Principal Orders Eigth Grader Strip Searched for Ibuprofen

How can an untrained (and obviously over-zealous) school official be allowed to search anyone? If there was any implication of illeagal drugs (prescriptions used by anyone other than the person they are prescribed), the police should have been called. Some may get hung up on the fact it was just ibuprofen. (Why do you need a prescription for these anyway? You can easily take 4 of the over the counter variety to equal the 800mg prescription stuff.)But, what if it were a narcotic painkiller? Would the principal still have ordered a strip search or would he have involved the police? Of course the proper thing to do would be to involve the cops. So, why should this case be any different.
Besides the question of constitutionality, wouldn't anything found in a search by someone who is not a law enforcement officer be easily tossed out as inadmissable if you had a decent lawyer? This whole story sickens me.
While I can empathize with school officials trying to run a school free of drugs of any type, one cannot condone such outrageous, improper behavior. Laws that protect our basic freedoms, like the protection from illeagal search and seizure, should always trump any perceived or real government policy. This behavior is made even more unacceptable on any level when the act involves a minor. School officials are responsible for protecting our children, not violating them, while in their care and custody.
Based on the reports I have read on this case, even a police officer would have a hard time justifying a strip search. The "suspect" denied the original accusation, didn't resist a search of her personal belongings and in fact nothing that occured in the course of investigating that gave them "reasonable cause" to suspect she was lying and continue with a strip search.
The school district and those involved should be sued into the stone age to ensure that this type of incident never occurs in any school district again.
Where's Bill O'reilly when you need him? I'd love to see him pick up on this case and make it his "outrageous story" segment for the next six months! Our rights and liberties are being constantly eroded by the government and the proper balance needs to be restored!

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