Strip Search of Middle School Student Illegal: Supremes

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 25, 2009 10:13 AM CDT
The Supreme Court.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – An Arizona middle school's strip search of a teenage girl accused of having prescription-strength ibuprofen was illegal, the Supreme Court ruled today. School officials violated the law with their search of Savana Redding, the justices said in an 8-1 ruling. Redding, who now attends college, was 13 when school officials ordered her to remove her clothes and shake out her underwear because they were looking for pills. No pills were found.

The high court said the school officials cannot be held liable in a lawsuit for the search. The justices also said the lower courts would have to determine whether the school district could be held liable. Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenting vote. John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented from the portion of the ruling saying the vice principal who ordered the search, conducted by a school nurse, could not be held financially liable.