Drug searches, along with drug tests for students in athletics and other extracurricular activities, have become common in schools. The 2003 strip search of Savana Redding in Arizona ignited a legal dispute that has landed before the U.S. Supreme Court – and could transform the landscape of drug searches in public schools, reports USA Today. Tuesday, the high court will hear Safford school officials’ appeal of a lower court decision that said they violated Savana’s constitutional rights and should be held financially responsible.
School administrators say increasingly younger students are experimenting with drugs and are abusing prescription and over-the-counter drugs. A 2006 Office of National Drug Control Policy report that said more than 2.1 million teens abused prescription drugs in 2005 and youths ages 12-17 abused prescription drugs more than any other illicit drug except marijuana. If the Supreme Court upholds the search, it will give administrators broad discretion on drug searches across the board. “If they decide that this was justified, then anything goes,” says Prof. Sarah Redfield of Franklin Pierce Law Center.