Feature

Savana Redding's strip search

Should school officials have made a 13-year-old undress to see if she had prescription-strength ibuprofen?

The Supreme Court has an opportunity, said The New York Times in an editorial, to help balance students' privacy rights against the need to keep schools safe. The court hears arguments Tuesday on behalf of a Savana Redding who, at 13, was strip-searched to see if she was carrying pain-relief pills. "The invasion of privacy was extreme and the security rationale was weak," so the justices should rule the search unconstitutional.

That would be a mistake, said The Washington Post in an editorial. Maybe officials should have notified Savana Redding's mother before the search, or waited until they had evidence that she actually had prescription-strength ibuprofen hidden in her bra. But school officials need flexibility so they can act decisively to avert danger; punishing them for bad calls will chill efforts to keep kids safe.

"Schools already have wide latitude, granted by the courts, to inspect lockers and other student possessions with only 'reasonable suspicion,'" said USA Today in an editorial. "But strip searches are grossly excessive. Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, schools should be smart enough to figure that out."

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