The Supreme Court ruled today that Arizona school officials violated the constitutional rights of a 13-year-old girl when they subjected her to a strip search on the suspicion she might be hiding ibuprofen in her underwear.
The court ruled 8-1 that such an intrusive search without the threat of a clear danger to other students violated the Constitution’s protections against unreasonable search or seizure.
Lyle Denniston, writing at SCOTUS blog points out that :
The new rule is that searching students’ inner clothing, with exposure of their bodies, will be extremely difficult — though not impossible — to justify.
The other constitutional rule — searches of public school students’ backpacks, notebooks, other belongings, outer clothing, and pockets are generally allowed if they are based on “reasonable suspicion” — remains as it has for a quarter-century, but with a small amount of refinement, the exact scope of which is not quite clear.
Thursday’s decision only applies to future searches, so the Constitution does not provide them a remedy.
And, hopefully, this will prevent cavity searches, too.