[Ibogaine] Federal court says strip search of teen was wrong

DC in AZ dcollier9 at cox.net
Sat Jul 12 09:27:54 EDT 2008


By Howard Fischer
Captiol Media Services

Published on Saturday, July 12, 2008

The strip search of a 13-year-old Safford school girl to see if she had 
drugs was unjustified and excessive, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals 
ruled Friday.

In a split decision, the full court overruled its own three-judge panel 
which had concluded that school officials had reasonable grounds to believe 
that the girl was violating either states laws or, at least school policies. 
Judge Kim Wardlaw, writing the ruling, said school officials “acted contrary 
to all reason and common sense as they trampled over her legitimate and 
substantial interests in privacy and security of her person.”
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The judge specifically said the tip from an “informant” another student  was 
unreliable, especially as the girl had never been in trouble before. And 
Wardlaw said school officials overreacted given that they were searching for 
nothing more than a prescriptionstrength version of ibuprofen, a pain killer 
that in smaller doses is sold over the counter.

But Judge Barry Silverman, writing for the dissent, said he believes the 
facts of this case provided school officials with “sufficient information” 
to reasonably suspect she had a pill, one which Silverman said had a high 
enough dosage to be potentially dangerous to children.

Mark Tregaskes, superintendent of the Safford Unified School District, said 
he had not seen the ruling. But Tregaskes said that the school has made 
several alterations to its policies since the 2003 incident that would make 
it “less likely” a student would be stripped searched in similar 
circumstances.

What ultimately led to the search was that girl, caught with some pills, 
said she got them from the girl in question here. That occurred the same 
time another student told the vice principal some kids were planning to take 
drugs.

The girl, under questioning by school officials, denied bringing pills to 
school, denied distributing pills to classmates and said consented to the 
search.

She was told to pull her bra to the side and shake it, exposing her breasts, 
and being told to pull her underwear out of her crotch and shake it, 
exposing her pubic area. The search produced nothing.

Her mother subsequently filed suit alleging her daughter’s constitutional 
rights were violated. But a trial judge threw out the case, as did a 
threejudge panel of the appellate court.

Wardlaw said the test of whether a search of a student in school is 
permissible is whether the actions are reasonably related to the objectives 
of the search, the age and sex of the student, and the nature of the 
infraction. She said that is designed to balance the need of schools to 
maintain order while avoiding

“unrestrained intrusions upon the privacy of schoolchildren.”

That, the judge said, did not occur here.

Wardlaw said the basis for the search was the “unsubstantiated tip” of 
another student, who had been caught with drugs, “seeking to shift the blame 
from herself.”

Beyond that, the judge said the search was excessive. Wardlaw said if school 
officials were concerned the girl were going to give drugs to other students 
they could have just kept her in the principal’s office or sent her home 
instead of forcing her to remove her clothes.

“And all this to find prescriptionstrength ibuprofen pills,” Wardlaw said. 
“We reject Safford’s efforts to lump together these runofthemill 
antiinflammatory pills with the evocative term ‘prescription drugs,’ in a 
knowing effort to shield an imprudent strip search of a young girl behind a 
larger war against drugs.”

Finally, Wardlaw said the precedent that students have some rights against 
unreasonable searches had been set by the U.S. Supreme Court 18 years 
earlier, and that Kerry Wilson, the assistant principal who initiated and 
directed the search, should have been aware that his actions were illegal.

Tregaskes said the district remains responsible to “protect the safety” of 
the students.

“That’s always going to be a concern (while) at the same time, balancing it 
with constitutional rights,” he said. “We’ve placed additional safeguards in 
place so that when situations like this, if they arrive in the future again, 
that there are additional checks and balances, if you want to call that, 
before we would proceed in doing searches to the extent that this one was 
done.”




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Don zo
"Love converts hearts, and gives peace."
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