Opinion

Commentary: Supreme Court's strip search decision right on target

The Supreme Court issued another important ruling that sends school administrators a message worth heeding: Don't strip-search your students unless there's a strong reason for doing so.

The case involved a 13-year-old middle school student from Arizona named Savana Redding who was subjected to the indignity of a strip search after another student caught with prescription-strength drugs claimed Ms. Redding was carrying a secret stash of – Oh my! – ibuprofen.

She denied it, but even after a search of her backpack and outer clothing revealed nothing, she was made to strip and shift around her bra and panties so that two female staff members could see if she was hiding pills. She wasn't.

The court was sympathetic to the need for schools to enforce strict anti-drug policies, but there are limits to how far they can go. In this case, wrote departing Justice David Souter, "The content of the suspicion failed to match the degree of intrusion."

Exactly. They went too far. Even on school grounds, students retain some Fourth Amendment rights that schools must observe.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.

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