Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Arizona Strip Search Case

It is a clash of the great moral panics of our time. Is suspicion of drug possession ground for strip searching a 13-year-old girl?

I find it interesting that Justice David Souter clearly knows which bogeyman scares him more. He compares the alleged possession of ibuprofen to a "dead kid" and strip search a girl in a way that was humiliating enough to cause her to drop out of that school despite being a conscientious honor student as just a little "embarrassment". So that's okay then.

Meanwhile another girl caught with a terrifying drug, the birth control pill, was suspended and threatened with expulsion. I can't help but wonder if this is partly due to the powers that be and their attitudes about schoolgirls and the pill? (In an area where 1/4 to 1/2 of students are sexually active).

Or is it just that in both cases a zero tolerance policy is the next best thing to a lobotomy? Because the fear of any and all objects in pill form seems to be far more important than a girl's dignity, control over her own body, and access to education.


David Tulloch said...

An issue too serious, annoying and riling for me to comment sensibly ... so I'll be stupid instead.

The two things that struck me about this article was that you, Emily, linked to an article in the Christian Science Monitor ... and the parents of the poor kid named her Savana?

Actually, I'm worried that if I do comment sensibly I'll just rant and vent uncontrollably.

BarbaraRae said...

We have become a pill for everything society. However, this is a clear violation to these young girls, and very humiliating. What an awful violation. Thanks for bringing this out for open discussion!

cady said...

i cannot believe that girl was allowed to be strip searched. as barbara said, that's a clear violation and just plain awful for that girl.

Scott Thurston said...

I am with David, I cannot comment without going ballistic!

Linda said...

Since when is it illegal for you to take an aspirin (tylenol)? This is just crazy and the school officials should be hung up by their fingernails!

MorgansMummy said...

Thats just wrong. I say if a student is stupid enough to take a drug (that is illegal or not theirs) they should suffer the conciquenses. Children these days are taught enoguh about it to know better and that shouldnt give anythign the right to violate someone like that. Its sounds to damn close to child molesation to me.

Anonymous said...

These no-tolerant regulations in schools begin and end with insurance costs and a teachers union that wields far too much power. School officials are so terrified of being sued they have allowed themselves to become bullies. And I feel some really sick people take advantage of this atmosphere and get their jollies off through this opportunity to lord it over students.

The application of common sense is being deprived to children when Mary can't take some Midol to school during her time of the month. My sister's girl had this happen to her. Another friend's child who has asthma had to be taken to the hospital one day because the school nurse was out to lunch and the key to the dispensary couldn't be located. If it is medication that the parents feel their child needs the children should be allowed to carry it on their person. Instead kids are being taught that nothing is as important than adhering to policies devised for the benefit of their so-called educators. The current system completely divests kids of the right to make intelligent choices, and instead encourages them to be unquestioning sheep, and woe to any that stray for a drink from the stream of common sense.

Clyde Durgin said...

As Tuscan said (basically), zero tolerance anything is a surrender of common sense. It causes people to act without thinking and then bullcrap like this case comes up. She's an honor roll student who never misbehaved and had a clean record--at what point did they think she was a) lying to you, b) a druggie and c) a problem student who needed to be searched without consulting her parents first? This is how totalitarianism starts.

Oh, and Souter is an ass-bonnet. "Dead kid?" Seriously? He really wants to go there?
Look, I know he's trying to be Devil's Advocate here, but it's making him look dumb. It's Ibuprofen, Souter, not expired Dexetrim pills or peyote buttons. He needs to get a brain, that stupid, conservative old fart.

Maureen said...

I can't understand anything that doesn't have regular rules and priorities. Anything extreme doesn't work and really doesn't have a chance. You end up with situations like this- no 13 year old should be strip searched period. Things appear to be getting more ridiculous each year... it's too bad