A 13-year-old Arizona girl who was strip-searched by school officials looking for ibuprofen pain reliever will have her case heard at the Supreme Court.
The justices accepted the case Friday for review. They will decide whether a campus setting gives school administrators greater discretion to control students suspected of illegal activity than police are allowed in cases involving adults in public spaces...
The court said the school went too far in its effort to create a drug- and crime-free classroom. "The overzealousness of school administrators in efforts to protect students has the tragic impact of traumatizing those they claim to serve. And all this to find prescription-strength ibuprofen."
In its appeal to the high court, the school district said requiring a legal standard of "probable cause" to conduct student searches would cast a "roadblock to the kind of swift and effective response that is too often needed to protect the very safety of students, particularly from the threats posed by drugs and weapons."
Such a search would be clearly illegal in California, as evidenced by this citation from Education Code:
49050. No school employee shall conduct a search that involves:
(a) Conducting a body cavity search of a pupil manually or with an instrument.
(b) Removing or arranging any or all of the clothing of a pupil to permit a visual inspection of the underclothing, breast, buttocks, or genitalia of the pupil.
Every time I read this I wonder what prompted lawmakers to add "with an instrument" to subsection (a).
Update, 4/20/09: CNN presents some updated facts here.