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Does a 13 year old girl’s body belong to the public school adminstration? How Safford Middle School tries to defend a strip search for ibuprofen. The story of still-acting Kerry Wilson, the vice principal of Safford Middle School tries to defend a strip search

April 16, 2009
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Safford Middle School vice principal Kerry Wilson ordered a 13 year old girl to be strip searched by school officials (female) for his suspicion that the 13 year old girl had prescription ibuprofen on her body.  At what point does the distinction move from a school official keeping a child safe to the point where a child can be attacked by a older male official looking to control the person of a 13-year old girl?  It’s a strange sickness that some of these school principal’s have regarding exposing young girls’ bodies for punishment purposes (see my other post on this happening in the Catholic school).

The October 2003 strip-search took place at Safford Middle School in Safford, a small community in southeast Arizona.

Court papers say Ms. Redding was pulled out of class by the assistant principal, Kerry Wilson, and asked a series of questions about whether she had anything to do with some prescription-strength ibuprofen pills he had uncovered. She said no. He then asked whether he could search her belongings.

When this search uncovered no such tablets, Mr. Wilson instructed an administrative assistant and the school nurse to conduct a strip-search of Ms. Redding in private. The 13-year-old was asked to take off her shoes and socks, then other items of clothing, until she eventually had stripped down to her bra and underwear.

She was asked to pull her bra out and to the side and shake it, exposing her breasts, and then to pull out her underwear and shake it, exposing her pelvic area.

The school board says that school officials can do whatever it takes to keep schools safe,

“Safford Unified School District … finds itself on the front lines of a decades-long war against drug abuse among students,” the lawyers for the district write, noting what they call a “troubling rise” in the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

but I wonder how prescription strength ibuprofen, which is commonly taken for cramps, constitutes the same level of intrigue as something sinister like a gun or something that creates a real and present danger for students.  Lawyers for the school board don’t sound any better when they try to defend the school’s actions, because the lawyers for the school district are essentially arguing that parents turn over their children mind, body and soul to the public school system and damn the consequences:

“Petitioners do not deny the potential emotional effect of the search conducted in this case,” they wrote. “In fact, it was for this very reason that they specifically took into account both Redding’s age and sex.”

They note that after inspecting the student’s backpack, the male assistant principal withdrew from the search and turned it over to two female employees, who conducted it in the privacy of the nurse’s office. Also, the school officials did not touch Ms. Redding during the strip-search.

Do you want your kid strip searched?  That’s a hard thing to pull off in a police station without issuses of sexual abuse coming up, but in a school with a 13 year old girl possibly carrying ibuprofen?  It just sounds like perversion when the lawyers assert that BECAUSE of the child’s age, they strip searched her in some nurse’s office.  The fact that the medical community was complicit in degrading a young girl’s body is no surprise to me, nor is it any surprise that factions of the legal community stand behind that abuse, as I have suffered through it myself, but what is surprising is that the lawyers for the school district seem unable to comprehend how they sound like they are complicit in child sex acts by defending a strip search based on a minor’s age.

It seems like a witch hunt to me.

School officials say they had good reasons for the search.

First, another student, Marissa, who was discovered with prescription-strength pills, said she had obtained them from Ms. Redding. Second, at a school dance a couple of months before, members of the school staff said they had detected the smell of alcohol among a small group of rowdy students that included both Marissa and Ms. Redding. And third, another student reported that alcohol had been served at a party at Ms. Redding’s home before the dance.

So, based on hearsay, a student is strip searched?  Based on someone reporting alcohol odors, a student is strip searched for ibuprofen?  There is no legal leg to stand on here, much less a logical one.  Here little girls, it’s time to go off to school to be safely strip searched by the administration–they will take your age into account and only have female attendants strip you in the office.  Have a good day!

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