Justices hear arguments over school strip search

A lawyer for a 13-year-old Arizona girl strip-searched by school officials looking for prescription-strength ibuprofen pills has told the Supreme Court that the administrators needed better information than what they had before doing such a humiliating search.

Savana Redding was 13 when Safford Middle School officials ordered her to remove her clothes and shake out her underwear looking for pills.

Adam Wolf, lawyer for the now-19-year-old Redding, told the justices April 21 that a strip search for any reason would be unconstitutionally unreasonable unless school officials were told specifically that something was in her underwear.

Wolf said school officials violated the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches.

That seemed to worry several justices. They also seemed concerned that allowing strip searches of school-age children could lead to other, more intrusive searches like body cavity searches.

The school lawyer argued that the courts should not limit school officials’ ability to search out dangerous items on school grounds, and said that the search was reasonable and justified because pills had been found on campus and another student had linked them to Redding.

Justices are expected to rule in the case by late June.