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Middle-School Strip Search Ruled Unconstitutional 528

Posted by timothy
from the moment-of-claritin dept.
yuna49 writes "The US Supreme Court today ruled 8-1 that the strip search of a 13-year-old girl by officials in an Arizona middle school was unconstitutional. However, by a vote of 7-2, the Court also ruled that the individual school officials could not be held personally liable. A suit for damages against the school district itself is still going forward. We discussed this case at length back in March when the Court decided to hear the case on appeal."
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Middle-School Strip Search Ruled Unconstitutional

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  • This is America (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrMista_B (891430) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:35PM (#28471731)

    This is America, where children are the Enemy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721)

      This is America, where children are the Enemy.

      Which is odd, because last week I thought we were destroying civil liberties to save them. I do wish the government would make up its mind. Should we be building more private prisons to hold them cheaply, or should we be cherishing them and making sure they don't see Janet Jackson's nipple?

      • Re:This is America (Score:5, Insightful)

        by garcia (6573) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:43PM (#28471907) Homepage

        or should we be cherishing them and making sure they don't see Janet Jackson's nipple?

        Well at least we now have a Supreme Court decision that stops overzealous administrators and staff from seeing children's nipples in search of non-existent over-the-count drugs. Now, if only the administrators were actually held liable for their stupid decisions.

        • Re:This is America (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @04:07PM (#28472387) Homepage Journal
          Hey, at least that time they were actually looking for drugs.

          Awhile back in a suburb of San Diego, an overzealous administrator had the good idea to round up [signonsandiego.com] all of the girls at the dance and check their panties so that the filthy whores wearing thongs(or less) could be sent home to change.

          And about that, from the link:

          Garvik's sophomore daughter was forced to go home and change before she could enter the dance, although thongs are not barred in the school dress code. The code states that undergarments, including "boxers, tank-top undershirts or underwear" should not be exposed.

          Some people with authority(especially those in certain government agencies, but I digress) seem to make up the rules as they go along. That's what makes them dangerous.

          • Re:This is America (Score:5, Insightful)

            by networkBoy (774728) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @04:34PM (#28472811) Homepage Journal

            I'm a parent of a little girl.
            I must say that if my child came home and reported either of these incidents I would likely be in police custody as a result.

            Now, I personally don't think girls of that age should be wearing g-strings and thongs, but that simply means I police *my* kid. Not other people's kids. Especially if it's not against the rules to begin with. I agree with the "no showing underwear" rule, much like I agree with the "no drugs, and we can search your personal possessions while you are on campus" rules. What I can't fathom is the thought of we'll lift your skirt and strip off you clothes even if we don't have *damn good* evidence or suspicion.

            Take this case:
            Girl accused of having motrin-400's and they want to find out if she has any more. Search locker, pockets, backpack, purse, STOP! You're done. Seriously, it's Motrin, not crank. And the "informant" is another student who was just busted and wants to shift the blame.

            Vs.

            Teacher sees dope deal go down, pulls both students in. Weed/speed/whatever is "missing" and no sign it was dropped...
            now you get in the territory of _maybe_ getting to a more intimate search.

            as it is now as a parent I would press sex offense charges in both cases, sue the pants off the school district, picket the school with the names of the offenders and what they did, and blanket the district with fliers about what happened...

            Each incident like this makes me realize that things have only gone downhill since I was in school.

            [/rant]
            -nB

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by networkBoy (774728)

              should qualify the sex offense comment:
              referring to the (now) GP post and main thread topic, not the drug deal got caught. That I would push for a letter of reprimand from the district...

            • Re:This is America (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @04:43PM (#28472943)

              Something to consider also is that if it's THAT FREAKIN SERIOUS then you don't let a teacher deal with it, you call the police and let THEM deal with it. That's why we HAVE police to begin with, they know how to handle issues with that kind of gravity.

              Teachers deal with school related issues, anything that's threatening life or limb gets sent to the police. The police deal with it, and then it goes to the JUVENILE justice system.

              Then again not all cops are as awesome as the one's that have saved my ass from abusive and sometimes outright psychotic school administrators, but if a cop does something this absolutely fuck-dumb then there's already established means of dealing with it.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by rtfa-troll (1340807)

                THAT FREAKIN SERIOUS then you don't let a teacher deal with it, you call the police and let THEM deal with it

                No you don't; You call the parents in. At least the first few times until it's clear that they won't or can't deal with it in which case calling the cops can easily be justified and is at least partly about dealing with the problems of the parents. Schools should rightly be very careful about bringing the police in since the consequences can be extremely serious and it basically represents a failure of the school if it has to happen. They should normally have reacted earlier.

            • Re:This is America (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @05:14PM (#28473383)

              Teacher sees dope deal go down, pulls both students in. Weed/speed/whatever is "missing" and no sign it was dropped... now you get in the territory of _maybe_ getting to a more intimate search.

              At which point the cops are called. School adminstrators never have the right to strip search kids. Jesus christ...

            • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Thursday June 25, 2009 @07:16PM (#28475181)

              as it is now as a parent I would press sex offense charges in both cases, sue the pants off the school district...

              Then you're no better than they are! Two wrongs don't make a right; just because they saw your daughter's unmentionables doesn't mean you get to see theirs...

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by timmarhy (659436)
              school teachers aren't police, and shouldn't even imagine they have the authority to perform a strip search. if they think the kid has shoved it up his ass - call the cops and get them to do it. that should be the end of this story. it makes me fearful for when i have children, because if i have a child and they are subjected to anything like this i'd probably do something drastic.
        • Re:This is America (Score:5, Insightful)

          by BZ (40346) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @04:31PM (#28472769)

          Did you read the supreme court decision on the liability thing? It basically comes down to "precedent and legislation here was so confused, that even the Federal appeals court decided incorrectly; there was no way the administrators could have been expected to know whether their actions were constitutional."

          Which is sad, but true. I'd have a much easier time claiming the administrators should be liable if every single court in the chain had found against them. But if as it is, I agree the decision was stupid, but non-obviously so. At least to a lot of people. Which once again is very said.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sexconker (1179573)

            Wait, what?

            The supreme court fucking said that they can't be held liable because they didn't know the law?

            WHEN THE FUCK WAS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW EVER AN EXCUSE FOR BREAKING IT?

            • Re:This is America (Score:4, Insightful)

              by BZ (40346) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @05:11PM (#28473335)

              Not quite. The supreme court said they can't be held liable because _no_one_ knew the law. As in, it was impossible to know it, given what was actually written down.

              Similarly, a prosecutor who filed suit against someone based on a law the legislature passed would presumably not be held liable if the law is then challenged and found unconstitutional. Of course if he then continues to bring such suits, things would be different, just as here things would be different for future behavior akin to that of these school administrators.

              Shouting cliches doesn't change the fact that this situation (which I, again, think was highly unfortunate behavior on the part of the school administration in the ethical, not just legal, sense) is not the same as "ignorance of the law".

              • Re:This is America (Score:5, Insightful)

                by hawk (1151) <hawk@eyry.org> on Thursday June 25, 2009 @05:42PM (#28473745) Journal

                To be a civil rights violation, the official doesn't have to have been wrong, but the act must have been clearly illegal. This is because off the difference between simply being wrong, and *willfully* using the power of the state to take away people's rights.

                When an issue is legally "up in the air," officials would otherwise be in "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situations.

                hawk, esq.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by falconwolf (725481)

            there was no way the administrators could have been expected to know whether their actions were constitutional.

            The problem with this though is that the Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure [usconstitution.net] specifically states:
            "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the pers

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by lgw (121541)

              Bah, we threw that old thing out for drunk driving checkpoints. We violate it every single time anyone flys commercially. We violate it every time anyone enters a public government building. We especially violate it when you show up for legally required jury duty, and are unconstitutionally searched before being allowed to comply with the summons.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Buelldozer (713671)

            There may have been some question of Constitutionality but there was NEVER any question about appropriateness, common sense, good taste, or forward thinking.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by JordanL (886154)
        C'mon, lets be serious.

        All governments are about control, and they want to control the children as much as the adults.
      • Should we be building more private prisons to hold them cheaply, or should we be cherishing them and making sure they don't see Janet Jackson's nipple?

        Why, of course we put them into prisons, both private and public, with no access to TV, or the Internet, or subversive books (like Huckleberry Finn or Common Sense, or Winnie-the-Pooh), to protect them from dangerous nipples and thoughts. Exceptions can be made for Good Kids (tm) by giving them access to selected chapters of the KJV and Conservapedia.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        The general theme being that civil liberties are being destroyed.
        No particular reason, no specific cause, just destroying civil liberties wherever they can.
        I guess it'd make for a conveniently docile population that dares not speak up.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SoupGuru (723634)

      No no, this is America where we have to ruin a child's life in order to prevent them from ruining their life. I suggest 5-10 years of jail for sexting!

    • Re:This is America (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:44PM (#28471919) Journal

      This is America, where children are the Enemy.

      If you've ever had to be responsible for a bunch of kids, you would understand.

      Now, I don't agree with strip searching kids, especially for something stupid like Advil or something. However, the second you state that school officials are not allowed to check your underwear, that's where everything starts getting hidden. Unfortunately, the only way to keep this from being abused and still having some effectiveness would be to publicly allow this type of search, but ban it privately.

      It seems that the judge agrees with me. From TFA:

      Had Savana been suspected of having illegal drugs that could have posed a far greater danger to herself and other students, the strip search, too, might have been justified, the majority said, in an opinion by Justice David H. Souter.

      I also hope that the student that gave the "tip" that this poor girl had pills in her underwear gets an ass-whoopin severe enough to make her grandkids wince when sitting down!

      • Re:This is America (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:48PM (#28472007) Journal

        Now, I don't agree with strip searching kids, especially for something stupid like Advil or something. However, the second you state that school officials are not allowed to check your underwear, that's where everything starts getting hidden. Unfortunately, the only way to keep this from being abused and still having some effectiveness would be to publicly allow this type of search, but ban it privately.

        That's when you call the cops and have it done by professionals who know how to do it properly. Even if my kid was carrying drugs in his or her underwear, I would not want a school administrator doing the search. You think you've got that much evidence, then you pick up the goddamned phone and phone the goddamned cops. If you're a school employee, your job is not to do strip searches, and I hope the kid's lawyers bankrupt the goddamned school. They overstepped their bounds so badly that it's difficult to imagine how they're judgement could have been any worse.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ArcherB (796902)

          Now, I don't agree with strip searching kids, especially for something stupid like Advil or something. However, the second you state that school officials are not allowed to check your underwear, that's where everything starts getting hidden. Unfortunately, the only way to keep this from being abused and still having some effectiveness would be to publicly allow this type of search, but ban it privately.

          That's when you call the cops and have it done by professionals who know how to do it properly. Even if my kid was carrying drugs in his or her underwear, I would not want a school administrator doing the search. You think you've got that much evidence, then you pick up the goddamned phone and phone the goddamned cops. If you're a school employee, your job is not to do strip searches, and I hope the kid's lawyers bankrupt the goddamned school. They overstepped their bounds so badly that it's difficult to imagine how they're judgement could have been any worse.

          Agreed. However, for the sake of argument, consider the following hypothetical:
          You received a credible tip from multiple sources that a girl has... I don't know... cyanide or something stuffed in her panties. So, you place this girl under "observation" to make sure she doesn't ditch anything while you call her parents and the police. The police say they will be there as soon as they can, but it may be two hours or longer. Her parents are at work and won't be coming at all.

          About 20 minutes into the waiti

        • by Tiro (19535)
          But the court also ruled that the school officials could not be held responsible for violating her rights (qualified immunity). FTA:

          Dan Capra, a Fordham Law School professor, issued a statement in which he said that the fundamental question about the ruling in Safford Unified School District v. Redding, No. 08-479, is "is whether school officials will ever actually be liable for such searches."

          "According to the court, the law on the subject was not clearly established, and so the officials had qualified imm

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fyrewulff (702920)

          The problem is school districts think they are god and above the law. They get even more power hungry than the most power hungry cop, and much less accountable.

          For instance, a year or two back, a girl claimed she was sexually assaulted in the stairway of a school.

          What did the school do?

          Call the cops?

          No.

          Call the parents?

          No.

          They sent a teacher to go 'investigate' the stairway. Instead of you know, calling the cops, who are trained in questioning and scene investigation, they send a portly tenured person down

        • Drugs Drugs Drugs. This is still coming down as a casualty of the war on drugs. What 'worse' could the 12 year old have had? MJ? Heroin? Maybe she's the large portion of 12 year old meth heads.

          Imagine a world where nothing was illegal, even for a 12 year old. They could follow the home style justice that some parents used to do with cigarettes they found: Make the kid smoke them ALL. One sitting. I know more people who have been stopped from smoking with this tactic than "Hey kids, don't smoke. It's a adult

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by aaandre (526056)

          It's very simple, parent should be present at the search.

      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        Call the fucking cops or at least call the kids damn parents. They didn't do either.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by KCWaldo (1555553)
        Uhh, Outside of a immediate threat to others what is wrong with calling the parents in to oversee a search of a minor? Personally if I was the girls father the vice principal and nurses would not have heard the end of it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ArcherB (796902)

          Uhh, Outside of a immediate threat to others what is wrong with calling the parents in to oversee a search of a minor?

          Personally if I was the girls father the vice principal and nurses would not have heard the end of it.

          I agree, but I don't know what would be worse, getting strip searched by the vice principal or getting strip searched by my vice principal while my mother looks on. (Although, I think having the parent in the next room would be sufficient if that's OK with the accused and the parent.)

          And if I were the parent and nothing was found, there would be hell to pay whether I was called or not!

          • Re:This is America (Score:5, Insightful)

            by supernova_hq (1014429) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @04:33PM (#28472795)
            You would seriously allow a school official (or anyone below a police officer) to strip search your child in the same room or even the next room?!? What the hell is wrong with you?

            99 percent of parents I know would physically stop any such action from occurring, and I don't blame them at all!
      • Re:This is America (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BlackSabbath (118110) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @04:07PM (#28472373) Homepage
        > However, the second you state that school officials are not allowed to check your underwear, that's where everything starts getting hidden

        In case you didn't realise just how bad that sounds I've taken the liberty of rephrasing it for you:

        "However, the second you state that school officials are not allowed to check your vagina or anus, that's where everything starts getting hidden."

        You see how people might have a problem with that? "School-issue speculums" just doesn't have a comforting ring about it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by idontgno (624372)

          "School-issue speculums" just doesn't have a comforting ring about it.

          But does sound AWESOME for the name of a punk rock band.

      • by ichbineinneuben (1065378) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @05:16PM (#28473393)
        As Justice Stevens said, "it does not require a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13-year-old child is an invasion of constitutional rights of some magnitude." But it took Justice Thomas to get to the heart of it, when he said, "Whadda ya mean, no one took pictures?"
  • Unless... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Misanthrope (49269) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:36PM (#28471755)

    Unless the district had a policy that made this a requirement of the officials, they should be held personally accountable for these horrid actions.

  • quite as well as it does now.

    I may not be the only rabid libertarian posting here that thinks this was an awful violation of 4A (yeah yeah, I know, 4A doesn't always apply in schools) but I'll go one further and say that the offenders ought to be sent off to federal PMITA prison and branded as sex offenders.

    All for a fucking Advil!
  • by nebaz (453974) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:41PM (#28471837)

    Clarence Thomas, who 'asserted that the majority's finding second-guesses the measures that educators take to maintain discipline "and ensure the health and safety of the students in their charge."'

    I can't imagine how forcing a 13-year old girl to strip ensures anyone's health and safety, especially since they were looking for IBUPROFIN, for heaven's sake.

    • That was Clarence Thomas. He probably thinks forced strip searches are a damned good idea, and is probably in with his secretary exploring it further.

    • by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:48PM (#28471999) Journal

      Clarence Thomas, who 'asserted that the majority's finding second-guesses the measures that educators take to maintain discipline "and ensure the health and safety of the students in their charge."'

      I can't imagine how forcing a 13-year old girl to strip ensures anyone's health and safety, especially since they were looking for IBUPROFIN, for heaven's sake.

      The majority agrees with that part. From TFA:

      Had Savana been suspected of having illegal drugs that could have posed a far greater danger to herself and other students, the strip search, too, might have been justified, the majority said, in an opinion by Justice David H. Souter.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Allicorn (175921)

        The majority agrees with that part. From TFA:

        Had Savana been suspected of having illegal drugs that could have posed a far greater danger to herself and other students, the strip search, too, might have been justified, the majority said, in an opinion by Justice David H. Souter.

        Holy forking schnitt.

        We like to have a good ol' joke and whinge about government and judiciary living in la-la-land and, true enough, they can often look fairly freakin' "out there" but from exactly how high do you need to have been dropped on your head as a baby to think that strip-searching school children is ever appropriate behaviour?!

    • by Bigby (659157)

      I didn't know the 4th amendment of the Constitution gave an exception for health and safety. How can a person who is charged with the sole responsibility of interpreting the Constitution add his own words? Does he interpret a "reasonable search" as one that has to do with health and safety? Wouldn't that encompass all searches?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by AuMatar (183847)

      Does this surprise you? Thomas' opinion of the law is pretty much the government can do whatever it wants, as long as its not done by a democrat.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by qbzzt (11136)

      I can't imagine how forcing a 13-year old girl to strip ensures anyone's health and safety,

      If they were looking for something really dangerous, on the basis of credible evidence, I'd be the first to applaud them. It sucks, but kids have been used for fighting before [wikipedia.org].

      However, in this case they were just enforcing a "zero common sense" policy.

  • Make them pay! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Those sons-of-bitches should be fired and prosecuted for child abuse, at the very least. They humiliated and terrified a good child, who had done no wrong previously, over fucking MOTRIN.

    Just because it was "clearly established law" doesn't make it right to ignore that abusive treatment. At risk of godwin-ing this early, this stinks of "just following orders."

    • by afidel (530433)
      The "just following orders" thing is why I was so happy when Florida passed the law requiring zero tolerance (zero intelligence) rules have a justification of stopping significant harm from the students. I really hope that becomes a national trend because having petty dictators expel students because they brought in a GI Joe with a plastic gun 1" long and the like are seriously farking with the mindset of the next generation.
  • TFA says they were looking for "prescription-strength drugs", but in fact they were looking for ibuprofen [bbc.co.uk], a relatively safe, over-the-counter analgesic. Basically they strip searched her on suspection of carrying aspirin. And she didn't even have the drug in her possession!
  • For once, read TFA. (Score:5, Informative)

    by powerlord (28156) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:45PM (#28471943) Journal

    Okay, I'll admit that, like most Slashdotters, I skip the occasional article and jump straight into the comments, but people should really take the time to read this one!

    For instance:

    Had Savana been suspected of having illegal drugs that could have posed a far greater danger to herself and other students, the strip search, too, might have been justified, the majority said, in an opinion by Justice David H. Souter.

    and

    Justice Clarence Thomas was the only member of the court to conclude that the strip search of Savana Redding did not violate the Fourth Amendment. He asserted that the majority's finding second-guesses the measures that educators take to maintain discipline "and ensure the health and safety of the students in their charge."

    The discussion about wether the School Administrator should be held responsible is similarly contentious.

    Its nice to know that they chose well on upholding her rights, but its sad how close a thing it seems from the article.

  • by scruffy (29773) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:49PM (#28472019)
    Does he have the same copy as the rest of us?
    • by Bigby (659157) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:58PM (#28472203)

      In his interpretation, "unreasonable searches" do not exist. Every search has a reason and the 4th amendment is therefore null and void.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SydShamino (547793)

        Funny, because as a "strict constructionist" he is usually credited as one that applies the Constitution exactly as written, i.e. more towards a limited, libertarian view. In this opinion, though, it was the liberal wing that most closely sided with the child being strip-searched in violation of her (or her parents') constitutional rights.

  • Qualified Immunity (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bryan Gividen (739949) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:52PM (#28472115)
    The reason the officials were not held responsible is because of an idea called qualified immunity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualified_immunity [wikipedia.org]) which essentially states that public officials cannot be held personally responsible for actions they undertake as part of their public duty and which, if illegal or unconstitutional, must clearly be illegal or unconstitutional.

    It is interesting to note that the two Justices that dissented regarding whether or not the school officials were covered by qualified immunity were Justice John Paul Stevens and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and that Justice Souter was a part of the majority. If Sotomayor is placed on the bench, it is feasible she would rule much closer to Justice Ginsburg and Stevens then to Souter on these types of matters.
    • by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Thursday June 25, 2009 @04:05PM (#28472337) Homepage
      Pardon the pontificating from a bystanding Brit who is by no means as knowledgeable on your Constitution as he should be, but reading TFWA, I note the test is the usual one of a hypothetical "reasonable person". I might not be reasonable all the time, but I'm pretty sure if I was asked to strip-search a 13 year old girl, loco parentis or not, I would be reasonably sure it would be a bad idea.
      • by LackThereof (916566) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @06:00PM (#28474039)

        Here in the US, public schools are typically surrounded by barbed wire, and not a small number have metal detectors at the doors. There's typically even a local police officer patrolling the halls in addition to the hired security.

        The general perception of a school in the US as a locked-down secure facility really blurs the line. "Reasonable" persons have a completely different frame of reference over here than they do over there..

        Or are your schools just as fucked up as ours? If they are, my hypothesis is totally wrong.

  • by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot@ ... m minus math_god> on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:54PM (#28472153) Homepage Journal

    ... if I was her brother or father I'd probably *still* be in jail for assault.

  • All bark, no bite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @04:02PM (#28472271) Journal

    However, by a vote of 7-2, the Court also ruled that the individual school officials could not be held personally liable

    What good is the ruling if there's no consequence? It seems to me that the biggest problem with government is that there's almost no accountability, and that leads to corruption & abuse of power.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Todd Knarr (15451)

      I want a return to an old principle: "A government official cannot, by definition, act outside the law or their authority, because when they do they are not acting in an official capacity and shall not be treated as if they were.".

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kirijini (214824)

        From Section IV of the majority opinion, edited to remove the citations (which, clearly, you weren't going to read anyway)(and with * marking the space between paragraphs, because slashdot is afraid of longish texts):

        *
        A school official searching a student is "entitled to qualified immunity where clearly established law does not show that the search violated the Fourth Amendment." Pearson v. Callahan. To be established clearly, however, there is no need that "the very action in question [have] previously bee

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nukenbar (215420)

      The point is that these searches are now against the law and future officials can be held liable. It this search had already been a violation of clearly established law, the case would have never made it to the Supreme Court. See Qualified immunity [wikipedia.org].

  • by delirium of disorder (701392) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @04:23PM (#28472653) Homepage Journal
    Court also ruled that the individual school officials could not be held personally liable
    If the courts won't hold them liable, than the people must! If the administrators responsible don't quit, than the students need to go on strike. How can anyone consent to their peers being abused in this manner?!?!? It's time parents, teachers, and students stand up for each other and demand that the administration step down. These pigs are either power hungry megalomaniacs or contributor to sexual assault (or both).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Trailer Trash (60756)

      Court also ruled that the individual school officials could not be held personally liable

      If the courts won't hold them liable, than the people must!

      That was my first thought. My grandfather told a story one time of his teacher doing something humiliating to him at school. When he told his mother, she went to school with a hatchet in hand. She didn't use it, but the problem was resolved.

      I don't recommend doing something that extreme, but it's obvious that people are too much of sheep nowadays to fix these problems. Honestly, this shouldn't have involved a court to begin with. Those responsible should have been publicly humiliated and forced to resi

  • by CompassIIDX (1522813) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @05:39PM (#28473705)
    It's cool if I forcibly strip-search a 13 year-old girl as long as I'm a school official working on "official business." I can't be held accountable.

    But if that same girl willingly texts me a cellphone pic of herself in a bikini, I'm looking at time in hard prison and branded a sex offender for life.

    Seems perfectly logical to me.
  • by snsh (968808) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @06:22PM (#28474409)
    Did Stevens have Thomas in mind when he wrote "it does not require a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13-year-old child is an invasion of constitutional rights of some magnitude.â

    When Thomas was nominated to Brennan's seat, the biggest complaint I remember was not Anita Hill or his ideology, but his skills. To be on the Supreme Court ou're supposed to be a scholar.
  • interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CopterHawk (981545) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @08:51PM (#28476185)
    So a minor with a naked picture of another minor on their phone is a sex offender, but an adult in a position of power who forces a minor to strip is not.

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