This twisted story comes via Windypundit by way of Hit and Run. Conduct that would not only be viewed as criminal, but would be of such grave moral culpability that it will likely cause its perpetrator to spend many extra years in prison, and have his name put on a national registry to be treated as a hated pariah for the rest of his life, suddenly becomes okey-dokey with one tiny, itty-bitty, change in the fact pattern. The person doing is a school principal.
Here are the facts, as relayed by the source from an ACLU brief submitted to the 9th Circuit (which never gets anything wrong, by the way).
Savana Redding, an eighth grade honor roll student at Safford Middle School in Tucson, Arizona, was pulled from class on October 8, 2003 by the school’s vice principal, Kerry Wilson. Earlier that day, Wilson had discovered [drugs] in the possession of Redding’s classmate….Under questioning and faced with punishment, the classmate claimed that Redding, who had no history of disciplinary problems or substance abuse, had given her the [drugs].
After escorting Redding to his office, Wilson presented Redding with the [drugs] and informed her of her classmate’s accusations. Redding said she had never seen the [drugs] before and agreed to a search of her possessions, wanting to prove she had nothing to hide. Joined by a female school administrative assistant, Wilson searched Redding’s backpack and found nothing. Instructed by Wilson, the administrative assistant then took Redding to the school nurse’s office in order to perform a strip search.
In the school nurse’s office, Redding was ordered to strip to her underwear. She was then commanded to pull her bra out and to the side, exposing her breasts, and to pull her underwear out at the crotch, exposing her pelvic area. The strip search failed to uncover any [drugs].
“I was embarrassed and scared, but felt I would be in more trouble if I did not do what they asked,” said Redding in a sworn affidavit following the incident. “The strip search was the most humiliating experience I have ever had.”
But there’s one little detail to make this story even better:
The punchline: The drugs in question were ibuoprofen pills—prescription-strength, 400-milligram pills (equivalent to a couple over-the-counter Advil caplets).
Now some might say that this reflects the unfortunate reality in which school administrators find themselves, trying hard to eliminate drugs from schools and being faced with “zero tolerance” policies that demand action, even though it seems harsh under particular circumstances.
To that, I say baloney. I don’t care how much grocery clerks love their checklists. You don’t do this to a 13 year old. This is akin to the Nuremberg defense. There must be a point at which any senscient being says to themselves, “this is crazy.”
To the extent that anyone dismisses the impact of being forced to strip in front of someone, I have no doubt that this is traumatic to someone at that age. I have a 13 year old son who would sooner punch me in the nose than let me see him naked. They are very fragile at that age, as puberty takes its toll. Wouldn’t you think an educator, or all people, would be acutely aware of this?
This is incredibly stupid, and even more-so sick. Mind you, under any circumstances that didn’t involve the federal courts’ overwhelming deference to public schools authority, somebody would go to prison over this conduct. How then can it be fine when done by a trusted educator?