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random rants about news, the law, healthcare law, economics and anything I find amusing

Strip-Search Case Tests How Far Schools Can Go – NYTimes.com

As reported on March 23, 2009 in the New York Times, the Supreme Court will shortly address a case concerning the scope of student searches.   In the case, an assistant principal, enforcing the school’s antidrug policies, suspected a thirteen year old student of having brought prescription-strength ibuprofen pills to school. One of the pills is as strong as two Advils.  After being strip searched to the her underwear, they conducted further intimate searches.   The student, who was an honor student, had no pills.

At issue will be how much leeway school officials should have in policing zero-tolerance policies for drugs and violence.  The court is likely to provide important guidance to schools around the nation.  The Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, found a Fourth Amendment violation by the school, ruling that such a search should be bannned as unreasonable.  This was not without dissent by Judge Hawkins who concluded, “I do not think it was unreasonable for school officials, acting in good faith, to conduct the search in an effort to obviate a potential threat to the health and safety of their students.”

The Supreme Court’s last major decision on school searches based on individual suspicion — as opposed to systematic drug testing programs — was in 1985, when it allowed school officials to search a student’s purse without a warrant or probable cause as long their suspicions were reasonable. It did not address intimate searches.

In his The Health Care Blog of March 24, 2009,  Matthew Holt argues that this case, together with the current drug cartel unrest in Mexico and the previous administration’s prosecution of medical marijuana growers distributors shows the “lunacy” of our current drug laws.  No comment here, but interesting discussion.

via Strip-Search Case Tests How Far Schools Can Go – NYTimes.com.

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Filed under: Drug Policy, Health Law, Personal Posts, ,

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