Student Strip-Search Case Heads to U.S. Supreme Court

TUCSON, Arizona
Published: April 19, 2009

An Arizona teen is taking her case to the Supreme Court on April 21 after allegedly being improperly strip searched at the age of 13. The girl, now 19 year old, was told to remove her clothes by Safford Middle School officials during a search for prescription-strength ibuprofen.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether school officials violated the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches. The court will also determine if school officials had reasonable grounds to search the student for the medication and whether the pills posed a public health threat serious enough to justify a strip search, according to Fox News. The medication was not found during the search.

The school’s vice principal, who ordered two female teachers to perform the search, may also be held personably liable if the court deems the search was unconstitutional.

In July,  a U.S. appeals court determined that the Arizona school violated the constitutional rights of the former student. The original lawsuit, filed by the student’s parents, had been overturned twice before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit.

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