SAFFORD, AZ – The Supreme Court says a school’s strip search of an Arizona teenage girl accused of having prescription-strength ibuprofen was illegal.
The court ruled on Thursday that school officials violated the law with their search of Savana Redding, who lives in Safford in rural eastern Arizona.
Redding was a 13-year-old honor student when she was called to the principal’s office.
Officials at Safford Middle School ordered her to remove her clothes and shake out her underwear because they were looking for pills. The district bans prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
The school was acting on a tip from another student who was found carrying ibuprofen pills and tried to blame Savana as the source.
“Once they got me into my underwear I thought they would let me put my clothes back on,” she told CBS News correspondent Hattie Kauffman. “But then they told me to pull out my bra and shake it, and my underwear as well.”
“Because there were no reasons to suspect the drugs presented a danger or were concealed in her underwear, we hold that the search did violate the Constitution,” wrote the justices in their opinion. They held, however, that the school official who ordered the search is entitled to qualified immunity from liability.