Drug War Horror Stories

The Supreme Court takes failing to get it to a new level in a strip-search case.

By Dahlia Lithwick – Slate Magazine

Editorialists and pundits have found much to hate in what happened to Savana Redding. Yet the court today finds much to admire. And even if you were never a 13-year-old girl yourself, if you have a daughter or niece, you might see the humiliation in pulling a middle-school honor student with no history of disciplinary problems out of class, based on an uncorroborated tip that she was handing out prescription ibuprofen. You might think it traumatic that she was forced to strip down to her underclothes and pull her bra and underwear out and shake them in front of two female school employees. No drugs were found. But even those justices lacking a daughter, a niece, or a uterus had access to an amicus brief in this case documenting the fact that student strip searches “can result in serious emotional damage” and that student victims of strip searches “often cannot concentrate in school, and, in many cases, transfer or even drop out.” Savana Redding, herself a data point, described the search as “the most humiliating experience” of her life. Then she dropped out of school. And five years later, at age 19, she gets to listen in on oral argument in Porky’s 3: The Supreme Court Says “Panties.”

How far has our society fallen when we think it’s normal, even admirable, for school officials to strip search 13 year old girls for any reason, much less to find a prescription pill equivalent to two Advils? For that matter, how sick is it that 13 year old girls are strip searched at all? One would think that putting an adolescent through such a horrific experience would occur only the most exceptional cases – not by routine. Anyway read the whole thing to be shocked by the questions posed by the highest Court in the USA – they are astounding.