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Supreme Court Says Child’s Rights Violated by Strip Search

Supreme Court Says Child’s Rights Violated by Strip Search – NYTimes.com

Applause for the Supreme Court today on this rare, nearly unanimous decision (8–1) saying that a strip search of a 13 year-old girl for allegedly having a prescription ibuprofen pill was a violation of her constitutional rights and the school district, but not the individual administrators, could be held liable for damages.

There are several issues at play here which captured my attention, not the least of which was the hope for a clear reminder that schools and their administrators are an agent of the state (government) and therefore should be subject to the same constitutional restrictions we place on other state agents including the police. It’s high time that many school administrators were reminded that their primary job is to provide an education and not enforce policies that are outrageously more restrictive than generally accepted in the rest of society. I mean seriously, how long do you think the public would stand for the police conducting strip searches of everyone they stopped on simply a hunch that they might be concealing a single pill of a prescription drug?

I do think that the individual administrators should be held liable for their actions though. The court ruled 8 to 2 that the individuals should be shielded while performing their official duties, but I agree completely with justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who wrote in her dissent, “Abuse of authority of that order should not be shielded by official immunity.”

One thing that I don’t understand is the lack of utter outrage at this. Open any newspaper in the US and you will read a story nearly every week about someone being sentenced to prison for 10 to 20 years for possession of child pornography. And if the paper allows comments on the story you are certain to read people calling for life imprisonment, torture, or even the death penalty. All for someone convicted of possessing images of abuse, not necessarily an abuser themselves. But here we have a case of someone clearly sexually abusing a young girl, and not a mention has been made of it. I truly believe in a uniform standard — if someone can spend 10 years in prison and be required to be registered as a sex offender for looking at a picture of a naked 13 year-old, then I truly believe a more severe punishment is due to the principal and assistant principal in this case because they clearly sexually abused this girl.

But at least we have some progress here and a clear warning to school administrators with a dictator complex. It is NOT acceptable to enforce bullshit zero tolerance policies by any and all means. Hopefully this is just the start of courts reigning in some of these out of control policies.

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