Okay, I know. I really never do this. I don't like to get involved in political debate. I rarely even know what's going on in the news, let alone get all riled up enough to blog about it. But, the other day I did happen to catch a report about a 13 year old girl being strip searched by the school nurse. It outraged me! You can read more about the story here.
I have read all the school arguments. There's a zero tolerance for drugs and prescription drugs are the drug of choice anymore. The school should have a wide latitude for keeping students safe.
I actually find many of the arguments on the student's behalf weak as well. I honestly think the fact that the administrators were only looking for ibuprofen is irrelevant. (Although it's pretty silly considering 10 years ago, I was giving ibuprofen to my teachers at their request.) I really don't care that the girl was an honors student or even that the girl who pointed the finger at her was less than reliable.
My problem actually lies in the fact that a school authority would ever presume to have the right to force a child to take off their clothes. If the infraction or suspicion is so severe as to validate a strip search of a young girl (or boy for that matter) then I think the police ought to be involved. A 13 year old would not be allowed to be questioned by police without parental consent, why on earth should that same child be allowed to be stripped searched without the same requirements?
A school should be a safe haven for our children. I see very little difference between this school's behavior and a priest or teacher who tells a child to take off his or her clothes for the adult's own pleasure. For a student who has done nothing wrong (and nothing was found on this girl during her search) the violation is the same. She was humiliated so much so that she never returned to that school and, at 19, has never completed high school despite being an honors student until this incident.
The Supreme Court heard the case on Monday and is not expected to rule until late June. But many of the justices made comments siding with the school district. I wonder if these, mostly older men, justices remember what it was to be an awkward junior high student. Certainly none of these men have the faintest idea what it is like to be an overweight 13 yo girl. The school administrators have said that a little embarrassment is worth risking for the safety of the students. But they seem to have greatly understated the risk and overstated the reward.
I'm sure many of you disagree with me and my views, it's certainly happened before and I really do respect other opinions. But I just had to get that off my chest, so now I'll step down off my soapbox.
* now back to our regularly scheduled programming