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When not to strip-search girls
The Supreme Court rules, 8–1, that Savana Redding's school violated her rights
T

he Supreme Court is right that a middle school’s strip-search of 13-year-old Savana Redding violated her constitutional rights, said The Washington Post in an editorial, but it was also right to shield the official who ordered the search from being personally sued. Schools need “flexibility” to “maintain order and safety”—in this case, a zero-tolerance drug policy—but strip-searching a schoolgirl in search of prescription ibuprofen clearly crossed a line.

It would've been nice if the justices had been clearer about where that line is, said Francisco Negrón in USA Today. “The abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications is a rising threat to the welfare of our children,” and strip searches are a “valuable tool”—used only “in rare cases”—to keep our kids safe. How are non-medical educators supposed to evaluate the “dangerousness” of a drug before ordering a search?

How about if they never order a strip search? said David Bernstein in The Volokh Conspiracy. If the safety concern is great enough to merit such an invasive measure—heroin, say, instead of the equivalent of “2 Advils”—call the police in. We shouldn’t put Savana Redding or any kid at the mercy of “the combination of drug hysteria and the tyrrany of petty government officials.”

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