Justices: AZ School’s Strip Search Of Teen Was Illegal


An Arizona school’s strip search of an teenage girl accused of having prescription-strength ibuprofen was illegal, the Supreme Court ruled today, the Associated Press reports. In an 8-1 decision, the justices said school officials violated the law in their search of Savana Redding in the Arizona town of Safford. Redding, now in college, was 13 when officials at Safford Middle School ordered her to remove her clothes and shake out her underwear because they were looking for pills. “What was missing from the suspected facts that pointed to Savana was any indication of danger to the students from the power of the drugs or their quantity, and any reason to suppose that Savana was carrying pills in her underwear,” said Justice David Souter. “We think that the combination of these deficiencies was fatal to finding the search reasonable.” Dissenter Clarence Thomas found the search legal and said the court previously has given school officials “considerable leeway” under the Fourth Amendment in school settings. “Redding would not have been the first person to conceal pills in her undergarments,” he said. “Nor will she be the last after today’s decision, which announces the safest place to secrete contraband in school.”

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