Skip

Ibuprofen: serious business
January 16, 2009 1:28 PM   Subscribe

In 2003 a school official ordered that a student be searched for the substance known as 2-[4-(2-methylpropyl)phenyl]propanoic acid. The case has now made its way to the United States Supreme Court.

The student was thirteen years of age, and the school's vice principal ordered that she be strip-searched to find the prescription-strength (i.e. the equivalent of two over-the-counter pills) prescription drug. 2-[4-(2-methylpropyl)phenyl]propanoic acid is better known as the over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Ibuprofen. The court will decide the constitutionality of the search, as well as whether the vice principal will be financially liable for damages. Previously.
posted by mullingitover (99 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is absolutely criminal. Strip-search for ibuprofen?
posted by Mister_A at 1:33 PM on January 16, 2009


The news article mentions that prescription strength is against school policy. Is there something magic about schools where taking a 500mg tablet is different than two 250 pills?
posted by pwnguin at 1:33 PM on January 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Why the cutsey presentation? If this is about ibuprofen, why not just say that up front?
posted by OmieWise at 1:34 PM on January 16, 2009 [13 favorites]


Schools should not have the authority to perform strip-searches on anyone, ever.
posted by Mister_A at 1:35 PM on January 16, 2009 [17 favorites]


I am so fucking high on ibuprofen right now. Whoa.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 1:35 PM on January 16, 2009 [14 favorites]


I think the most disturbing aspect of this whole thing is the claim from school administrators that, to quote the article:

"The decision 'places student safety and school order at risk by impairing the ability of school officials to effectively carry out their custodial responsibility,'"

At what point was it decided that ibuprofen is an affront to student safety? At what point was it decided that strip searching students is OK as long as it is done to make sure that "order" is kept in school?

Utter lunacy.
posted by tocts at 1:36 PM on January 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


I didn't know minors were even allowed to consent to a search without their legal guardian present. Maybe that's just Canada.
posted by Pseudology at 1:37 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


OmieWise writes "Why the cutsey presentation? If this is about ibuprofen, why not just say that up front?"

You mean like in the title of the post?
posted by mullingitover at 1:37 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Personally, I'd sue them for sexual assault of a minor.
posted by empath at 1:39 PM on January 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


...

forgot the types of searches that need consenting to require backpacks and bags.

...

Don't you need actual police officers for that stuff?
posted by Pseudology at 1:39 PM on January 16, 2009


Drugs are very dangerous and our children need protection. Won't somebody please think of the children?! To protect them teachers must be able to get our children naked at any time for any reas... ahsdi...nwk [head asplode]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:39 PM on January 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Why the cutsey presentation? If this is about ibuprofen, why not just say that up front?

Because "2-[4-(2-methylpropyl)phenyl]propanoic acid" sounds so much more scary than "ibuprofen" -- just as "pseudo ephedrine" sounds more heinous than "Sudafed" and is therefore a solid reason to strip an Olympic athlete of a gold medal.

DRUGS ARE BAAAAAD!!! ZEERO TOLERENTS!!1!!
posted by LordSludge at 1:40 PM on January 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


What crappy pagination. You have to click page two to get the last line of the story. Widows and orphans, man!

If I ever have a kid I will make sure she's informed to refuse consent to search. I wonder how they would have dealt with that. Forced physical search?

I'm going to come down on the side of the kid on this one. I understand we're not talking a police action here, so they probably don't need probable cause in the traditional sense, but taking this action just because another kid said you had something it idiotic. We're not talking her locker here (which I would also have a problem with in this case). We're also not talking about a narcotic.

Sure a kid could be allergic, or take more than is prescribed, but other than that we're talking Advil! If a 13 year old girl can't be allowed to be responsible enough to carry this drug and take it as needed then we've already lost.

And yes, I did read that is was supposed to be a "prescription strength" dose, but she denied having it. It should have stopped there. There's nothing different about the OTC and the prescription other than you have to take one instead of two.

Dumb dumb dumb. I hope in the minimum the principal loses his job. And to those who will defend him, at what point does his actions become unacceptable? Cavity search?

Poor girl.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:41 PM on January 16, 2009


Yeah, I think that "cutesy" presentation was supposed to be "sciency" and/or intimidating, getting more people to read [more inside].

Possible internal dialogue: Ooh, chemical substances? Strip away! What, it's a core medicine in the World Health Organization's "Essential Medicine List" (which is a list of minimum medical needs for a basic health care system)? Strip search does sound a bit preposterous.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:41 PM on January 16, 2009


empath, you're right - this is sexual assault. There is no reason to do this, no sane person in this country thinks it's OK to search strip-search a 13-yr-old girl for ibuprofen. Why is it that no one has beaten this school administrator in the head with a pipe-wrench?
posted by Mister_A at 1:41 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


This doesn't just cross the line - it toes up to it, takes 10 steps back, gets a running start, then jumps it with rocket boots.
posted by TypographicalError at 1:42 PM on January 16, 2009 [12 favorites]


I thought we'd long since concluded that this was done solely for the titillation of Vice Principal Kerry Wilson. I mean, this much is obvious. He is probably a pedophile and this is one of the ways he derives sexual satisfaction. I am not joking.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:42 PM on January 16, 2009 [24 favorites]


honoestly, it's pretty terrifying to think about how much some teachers really and truly despise children. it's one of those sick twists of fate that the people least suited to dealing with them on a daily basis get jobs not only dealing with them but being in charge of them.
posted by shmegegge at 1:43 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I hope she can make an example out of this school.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:43 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Honestly, if this was my daughter, I'd have to have been forcibly restrained from beating the school officials involved senseless.
posted by empath at 1:44 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


also, if I were a Supreme Court Justice and this case came before me, my response would literally be "wait, you ordered a 13 year old girl to do WHAT?! get the fuck out of my court. the decision stands." case fucking closed.
posted by shmegegge at 1:44 PM on January 16, 2009


I know you're not joking Optimus, I don't see how you can come to any other conclusion.
posted by Mister_A at 1:45 PM on January 16, 2009


The strip search had been prompted by an unverified tip from another girl who had Redding's school planner and some ibuprofen pills. She claimed Redding had given her the pills.

Nothing says "effective administration" like acting on unsubstantiated rumors spread by peers. It's not like that has any historical precedents of going horribly wrong, or anything like that.
posted by quin at 1:45 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Totally unjustified strip search, IMO. And makes a good companion to my post about the dangers of prescription drug use.
posted by jacobw at 1:46 PM on January 16, 2009


We already talked about the 9th Circuit's opinion in the last post.

This new post merely says the Supreme Court decided to grant writ.

Wouldn't it be a more productive discussion to wait to the decision?
posted by dios at 1:46 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


mullingitover, "You mean like in the title of the post?"

Which would be a totally valid point if you didn't have to click into the post to find out what the post was about. This annoyed me as well. If you'd at least made "2-[4-(2-methylpropyl)phenyl]propanoic acid" into a link to the Ibuprofen page one could get the suspense and see what you're talking about with just a mouseover.

It's not a big deal, but it is cutesy.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:46 PM on January 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Perhaps Metatalk would be the appropriate place for that question, dios.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:47 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow, from reefer madness to ibuprofen madness... this country has come a long way.
posted by crapmatic at 1:47 PM on January 16, 2009


So, when will the war on drugs get to the point where you can strip search anyone anywhere at any time for any reason?

Like, I'm walking down the street, see a cute girl, and bang! strip search her, right there!

Can't be too far off...
posted by qvantamon at 1:48 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's like deja vu. Same comments as the first post, 6 months later.
posted by smackfu at 1:49 PM on January 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think there's some missing backstory here; I can't find the links now but from what I read about this earlier Safford is a very Mormon town and this Ibuprofen incident can be broken down along Mormon (strip searcher/administration/girl who snitched) and non-Mormon (strip searchee) lines. Not like it will make a difference regarding the merits of the case, but it does add a little more information as to why.
posted by Challahtronix at 1:49 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


What a pain.
posted by not_on_display at 1:54 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's like deja vu. Same comments as the first post, 6 months later.
posted by smackfu at 3:49 PM on January 16


That's because there is nothing new to talk about in this post. So we can just show our indignation over the underlying facts again.
posted by dios at 1:55 PM on January 16, 2009


Did anyone else flash back to Edna in Reform School Girls? "You know the name of the game, ladies: control. Complete control."

The kids are in terrible danger if we cannot stripsearch them at will for ibuprofen, without warrant or police present. Brought to you by the folks who like warrantless wiretapping and the idea of shock collars on airline passengers.

Where is Wendy O. Williams, screaming atop an out-of-control schoolbus, when you need her?
posted by adipocere at 1:57 PM on January 16, 2009


cjorgenson:
You only have to hover over the post time or comment link to see the title of the post in the status bar at the bottom of the browser window - I always do that when the main text isn't as clear as I'd like it to be.

As to the subject:
...no, can't do it. I end up in the head 'splodey/sputtering rage crowd, and others have covered it more eloquently (or amusingly) than I can muster. It's just wrong. The whole thing is wrong. That poor kid. Our poor nation.
posted by batmonkey at 2:00 PM on January 16, 2009


Ibuprofen is a gateway drug. Many children who start with ibuprofen go on to use naproxen and acetaminophen.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:00 PM on January 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


So we can just show our indignation over the underlying facts again.
posted by dios at 1:55 PM on January 16


The difference between you and most of us is that we are obsessed with and passionate about justice, fair play, and facts, whereas you are obsessed with and passionate about procedural minutiae. So take it to MetaTalk already.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:01 PM on January 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


scratch "girl who snitched" from my previous post.
posted by Challahtronix at 2:01 PM on January 16, 2009


I am indignant.
posted by everichon at 2:03 PM on January 16, 2009


By the way, if this post exists to actually discuss the fact that the Supreme Court is granting cert, then I'll just offer up my reaction: first, this is a Ninth Circuit opinion, and so very likely to be reversed. But I suspect that the Supreme Court will reverse on the grounds that the Ninth's opinion, while not incorrect in result, is incorrect in part due to the Ninth's legally suspect holdings: (1) that the uncorroborated tip is insufficient to justify a search at the inception under TLO; and (2) that the search was per se unreasonable because it was "just ibuprofen."

But I think they will affirm that the scope of the search--that is, a strip search--was unreasonable based on facts under TLO.

I also think they will find qualified immunity.
posted by dios at 2:05 PM on January 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


There is a lot of US case law defining when and under what circumstances a school can search a student and their possessions. The baseline is that, when a student is at school, the school has the same authority as the child's parent (a school official acts 'in loco parentis'.)

There are edge cases which, last I looked, said that a school could search lockers without the student's permission, as the lockers are school property, but could not search a locked box within the locker without permission or evidence such as an indication from a drug- or bomb-sniffing dog).

It will be interesting to see which way the Supreme Court rules, because one could make the case that a parent, and by extension, a school, has, or doesn't have, the authority to compel a child to submit to such a search, or that the need to maintain school order and safety outweighs (or doesn't outweigh) the student's rights.

But however the court rules, this search was a serious error on the school's part. What good, if any, could possibly have come from this, even if they had the right? And how did this stack up against a high probability of an expensive and time-consuming trial? Schools and towns in general don't have a lot of discretionary spending, and the expenses of a case like this could cause real hardship for the town's citizens in terms of reduced services.
posted by zippy at 2:07 PM on January 16, 2009


cjorgensen writes "What crappy pagination."

It doesn't work on that page, but the Firefox autopager extension is absolutely wonderful for many pages like this. Just install it, andon yur first visit to a paged site, it'll ask if you wantit autopaged.
posted by orthogonality at 2:08 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


By the way, if this post exists to actually discuss the fact that the Supreme Court is granting cert, then I'll just offer up my reaction: first, this is a Ninth Circuit opinion, and so very likely to be reversed. But I suspect that the Supreme Court will reverse on the grounds that the Ninth's opinion...

Shouldn't this be posted at Psychic Friends forum?
posted by terranova at 2:10 PM on January 16, 2009


I just went on a class trip to a local boarding school today. apart from bringing back nightmares and realizing how fucked up high school made me, i realized i never, ever want to end up teaching in high school, in the same way how i never want to be a prison guard.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:10 PM on January 16, 2009


This is why I send my kids to school with their headache medicine inside a condom stuffed in their assholes.
posted by The Straightener at 2:12 PM on January 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


I mean, this much is obvious. He is probably a pedophile and this is one of the ways he derives sexual satisfaction. I am not joking.

I totally side with the kid on this one, but we really have no evidence that the principal is a pedophile. None.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:12 PM on January 16, 2009


this is a Ninth Circuit opinion, and so very likely to be reversed.

That's totally the most overstated saw in SCOTUS analysis.

I also think they will find qualified immunity.

Given the state of student-search jurisprudence, you are very likely right. They will likely find that a reasonable principal would, given prior decisions in this area, have made such a reasonable error and thus not be liable. Sucks.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:16 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I totally side with the kid on this one, but we really have no evidence that the principal is a pedophile. None.

We should search his computer for child porn. I think that's at least as justifiable as strip searching a 13 year old for advil.
posted by empath at 2:18 PM on January 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


The difference between you and most of us is that we are obsessed with and passionate about justice, fair play, and facts, whereas you are obsessed with and passionate about procedural minutiae.

None of dios' analysis has anything to do with legal procedure. Its all facts and law.

As for facts, a newspaper story on the internet does not the record upon appeal make.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:19 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


We should search his computer for child porn. I think that's at least as justifiable as strip searching a 13 year old for advil.

A one-minute glance over the story indicates that a school nurse did the search.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:20 PM on January 16, 2009


Yeah, but what does Ted Nugent think about all of this?
posted by Rangeboy at 2:22 PM on January 16, 2009


this is a Ninth Circuit opinion, and so very likely to be reversed.

That's totally the most overstated saw in SCOTUS analysis.


True. But it is true they are the most reversed. But I suppose a better way to have said that was: it is a 5-4 en banc rehearing opinion of the 9th Circuit that reversed the original 2-1 panel, and in doing so, based their reasoning on some legallly baseless standards that departs from the Supreme Court's jurisprudence in TLO.... so very likely to be reversed.
posted by dios at 2:24 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


By the way, if this post exists to actually discuss the fact that the Supreme Court is granting cert, then I'll just offer up my reaction: first, this is a Ninth Circuit opinion, and so very likely to be reversed.

You know, I don't want to wish death on anyone or anything like that, but I really look forward to a new Justice or three.
posted by exogenous at 2:26 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's been six years, his headache must have cleared up by now. Let's go get some lunch instead.
posted by jonmc at 2:29 PM on January 16, 2009


I think this case will really torment the SC. On one hand they, like all red-blooded Americans, hate pedophiles and want them tortured and killed in a way that is inhumane as medically possible. The vice principal demanding that a pubescent girl disrobe over some ibuprofen instantly raises alarms, and people have been sent to Guantanamo on flimsier evidence . On the other hand, the "conservative" members of the court desire to undermine the rights of citizens to be free from unreasonable search. So the case seems like it'll be really perplexing, and I wouldn't be surprised if blows are exchanged during the deliberation.
posted by mullingitover at 2:29 PM on January 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh, and as usual, it is helpful to look at the actual opinion instead of characterizations of it.
posted by dios at 2:30 PM on January 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yeah, but what does Ted Nugent think about all of this?

If you look up "Nugent, conflicted" in the dictionary, this is pretty much the entry.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:30 PM on January 16, 2009


On one hand they, like all red-blooded Americans, hate pedophiles and want them tortured and killed in a way that is inhumane as medically possible. The vice principal demanding that a pubescent girl disrobe over some ibuprofen instantly raises alarms
posted by mullingitover at 4:29 PM on January 16


So in other words, you did not even bother to read your own damn article before you posted this?

Clear as day on more than one occasion in the article is made clear:
The assistant principal then ordered the strip search to be done in front of the nurse and his administrative assistant, both women.
Why on earth are you pushing a pedophile angle? He did not watch the girl undress.
posted by dios at 2:34 PM on January 16, 2009


can we stop making fun of homeschooling now?
posted by geos at 2:37 PM on January 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


True. But it is true they are the most reversed. But I suppose a better way to have said that was: it is a 5-4 en banc rehearing opinion of the 9th Circuit that reversed the original 2-1 panel, and in doing so, based their reasoning on some legallly baseless standards that departs from the Supreme Court's jurisprudence in TLO.... so very likely to be reversed.

section 1983 jurisprudence is so fucking screwed anyway. I would put zero faith in the numbers on en banc rehearing and the original appeal. That doesn't really tell you anything about the cases.

If you've ever done any work in this area, the standards don't really apply very well to what must always be a fact-based analysis. The decisions in reality are almost always on the facts, in my experience. If it looks bad, it usually is. If not, it isn't. An appeals court will basically look at the facts and reverse on that, even though it isn't supposed to. I've had cases where my client was totally entitled to qualified immunity (stabs officer first can you believe it!) but was denied qualified immunity by the trial judge. Needless to say, he was shooting for a settlement--but didn't do his research and didn't know it was an immediate interlocutory appeal of right. Judge was probably not pleased with the reversal within 30 days of orals . . .
posted by Ironmouth at 2:47 PM on January 16, 2009


Metafilter: So we can just show our indignation over the underlying facts again.

Funny because it's true.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:47 PM on January 16, 2009


I have no idea what Ironmouth just said.
posted by shmegegge at 2:51 PM on January 16, 2009


dios writes "Why on earth are you pushing a pedophile angle? He did not watch the girl undress."

Given that a lot of sexual assault is about power, and not direct sexual gratification, this doesn't seem to mitigate the offense.
posted by mullingitover at 2:53 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Every time I hear about this story I remember that my school's policy was that we weren't allowed to have any medications, including OTC medications on our person. We were supossed to take all that stuff to the school nurse where she would dispense the right amount at the right time. And I think about the bottle of ibuprofen that I have carried in my purse since I was twelve. I remember having to sneak ibuprofen during class in 7th grade because the pain of my menstrual cramps would be so unbearable I couldn't sit still.

And this whole issue of controlling every single aspect of our children's life until they have absolutely no sense of self-agency or personal responsibility just makes me SO DAMN MAD.
posted by threeturtles at 2:57 PM on January 16, 2009 [16 favorites]


the standards don't really apply very well to what must always be a fact-based analysis.

Right. It's going to be fact based. Which is why the 9th Circuit's opinion will be reversed in part because instead of just saying, "under these facts, the search was unreasonable at its inception or in its scope or both" the en banc opinion goes too far by stating, for instance, that the search was per se unreasonable because it was "just ibuprofen." That is creating a standard not part of the TLO or any other analysis.
posted by dios at 3:03 PM on January 16, 2009


Thank you mullingitover, you beat me to it. He doesn't have see her naked to enjoy using his power to make her be stripped naked. Just like rape isn't about sex, it's about power.
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:05 PM on January 16, 2009


I have no idea what Ironmouth just said.

Briefly, I said that it doesn't make sense to assume that the SCOTUS will reverse based on the votes with the original panel (the first appellate judges to hear the case), or the en banc panel (the loser asked to have all the appellate judges in the 9th circuit review it) because the cases are so fact based and it really is the facts the court decides on in these types of cases.

The rest is about the type of claim. Section 1983 refers to 42 U.S.C. 1983, a section of the US code allowing persons alleging harm due to a violation of constitutional rights by a state or local government to sue for money damages. I am talking about how often these cases are wrongly decided and how often they get reversed because it really is a fact-based analysis, even if it really is a question of law, not fact.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:07 PM on January 16, 2009


A little too much ibuprofen can kill you. But having said that, I think if that were my child, heads would roll. And NOT HERS.

It angers me, too, how we treat young people like idiots. Oh for a world where we actually respected them and gave them some real responsibility for themselves....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:21 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just like rape isn't about sex, it's about power.

Just because something's about power doesn't mean it's about sex. Or rape.
posted by hermitosis at 3:26 PM on January 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


hermitosis: "Just like rape isn't about sex, it's about power.

Just because something's about power doesn't mean it's about sex. Or rape.
"

You are correct, it's a good thing no one was asserting that or they would be wrong.
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:35 PM on January 16, 2009


From the decision: This search revealed several white ibuprofen pills identical to the one turned over by Jordan, along with a blue Naprosyn 200 mg pill. ... Marissa responded, “I guess it slipped in when she gave me the IBU 400s.”

Gimme some IBU 400s, maaan. Not that Napro shit.
posted by msalt at 3:41 PM on January 16, 2009


You are correct, it's a good thing no one was asserting that or they would be wrong.

mullingitover connected this to sexual assault, and you affirmed that connection with your comment.

The principal may have made a serious error in judgment (and should be punished) but the conditions of the search were done properly according to protocol so as to remove any risk of improper sexual conduct. No one is alleging that the search was sexual in nature. It's irresponsible and tacky to sexualize this incident any more than necessary.
posted by hermitosis at 3:47 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is why I send my kids to school with their headache medicine inside a condom stuffed in their assholes.

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by RockCorpse at 3:50 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


That case reads like a TSA nightmare. Public school, honor student; pubic search. Pathetic.
posted by buzzman at 4:01 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is why I send my kids to school with their headache medicine inside a condom stuffed in their assholes.

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.


You don't want to ask how the paperboys carry the newsletters.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:08 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


> This new post merely says the Supreme Court decided to grant writ.
>
> Wouldn't it be a more productive discussion to wait to the decision?

It's a design feature of any site that closes old threads and has no form of followup. This is a significant milestone in an ongoing story and I'm glad to see the news, but you're correct that there's nothing much to say about it yet. Does it call for a new fpp? No, probably not, but the right place for it (in the original thread, which then pops up on the "recently bumped threads" page) is not an option here.

So it's a new fpp or nothing. New fpp? Gets called out as unworthy. Nothing? Encourages 15-minute attention span. Hey, the story is so last year. What's new?
posted by jfuller at 4:27 PM on January 16, 2009


That case reads like a TSA nightmare. Public school, honor student; pubic search. Pathetic.

Actually it reads like a shooting script for a pr0n shot in the Valley:

BIGBOY WILSON
AprilMayJune, what's in your bra?

SCHOOLGIRL APRILMAYJUNE
You're not gonna see it.

HAWKFACE ROMERO
Let a mature woman have a look! Follow me.

CUE MUSIC. Boomchickaboomchickaboomchica...


The working title is "Life Imitates Porn."
posted by terranova at 4:28 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look, if you let kids decide for themselves when to take over-the-counter medication, how can you expect them later in life to buy whatever the hell you want them to just because it's on TV? Good training starts early. Give them any sense of agency in their own lives while they're still kids and they could end up doing all kinds of thinking for themselves as adults.
posted by fidelity at 4:36 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Safford, AZ., population—9,232 [yr. 2000]

Just exactly what is prescription-strength ibuprofen? It's an anti-inflamatory drug, in the vein of ASA [Aspirin]. Regular strength is 200mg, extra-strength is 400mg. If you twist your ankle, you take 800mg right off the bat to lower inflamation. In Canada, it's available on the floor, no prescription is necessary.

Since when is information from another student taken at face value and why did the school's administration call in the police? "The strip search had been prompted by an unverified tip from another girl" — Seems the administration did zero investigation and jumped the shark. The assistant principal ordered it. This is a violation. When the police want me to drop in and talk to them regarding a complaint or issue, I go with a lawyer. Just for a chat you say? Not without a lawyer. This student's rights seem to have been violated by morons.

Furthermore, this student is a minor, in grade 8, WTF is the newspaper doing naming that student in print? In Canada, that is against the law. This is criminal and the paper ought to be sued. WTH is going on with civil liberties in USA???? Clearly, I'm not up on this zero tolerance shit either.

This mania over 'drugs' is out of fucking control. The white collar mf's that are the reason for the current demise of the economy from the loan/mortgage industry are looked upon as someone special and treated with kid gloves. Stealing millions is ok, but 1 joint or pill on someone and they throw the book at you? Get real.

It's about time rights are taught in school and what a citizen is allowed by law. Parents ought to be teaching that to their kids, frankly. The ignorance of the administration is stunning and I'd sue their mf asses to say the least. I wouldn't hire a lawyer from some butt fuck hick town either. I'd pull the kid out of that school and/or get the hell outta that gd village of snools. Some education.

Did I mention I hate hick towns? That water supply is probably loaded with ibuprofen, amphetamines, the pill and who knows what else that hasn't been purified — lets test it, k, because that school's administration is on drugs, I tell ya. Poliiiice!
/outrage.
posted by alicesshoe at 4:36 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


hermitosis: "You are correct, it's a good thing no one was asserting that or they would be wrong.

mullingitover connected this to sexual assault, and you affirmed that connection with your comment.

The principal may have made a serious error in judgment (and should be punished) but the conditions of the search were done properly according to protocol so as to remove any risk of improper sexual conduct. No one is alleging that the search was sexual in nature. It's irresponsible and tacky to sexualize this incident any more than necessary.
"

mullingitover and I did both point out that just because the principal himself did not physically commit the violation does not remove him from suspicion of sexual depravity. He can personally undress an underage girl and be sexually deprave, but he can also assert his power to have a girl undressed and still be sexually deprave.

I never once suggested this is proof of his sexual depravity, only that the fact that he did not do the stripping himself does not remove him from all suspicion of sexual depravity, i.e. pedophilia.

The conditions of the search were not proper, if they were there would be no problems and clearly they are. And yes people are alleging the search is sexual in nature, just look above.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:59 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


you know your post is in trouble when dios comes off as the most reasonable commenter.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:20 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


"also, if I were a Supreme Court Justice and this case came before me, my response would literally be "wait, you ordered a 13 year old girl to do WHAT?! get the fuck out of my court. the decision stands." case fucking closed."

Unfortunately, it's the Roberts court, not the shmegegge court. I'm terrified whenever any sort of civil liberties case goes to SCOTUS any more.
posted by Johnny Porno at 5:20 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


If I ever have a kid I will make sure she's informed to refuse consent to search. I wonder how they would have dealt with that. Forced physical search?

A lot of schools, my kid's included, have banned students from carrying any medications at all on the theory that illegal drugs can be disguised as an over the counter drug. It's BS, of course; it's all about control. If the kids have a medication they have to take, they're supposed to deliver it to the school nurse, along with the doctor's prescription. But a strip search? A lawyer I know sits his two middle-school age kids down every year and explains their rights to them, that they don't have to consent to a search and can, in fact, demand that their parents be called. I don't know if that's the law but the idea of summoning an incensed dad/lawyer would presumably stop any asinine search.
posted by etaoin at 5:51 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ah, zero tolerance, freeing school administrators from critical thinking for nearly 20 years.
posted by milarepa at 6:34 PM on January 16, 2009


I remember getting in some shit once when someone saw that I had a bottle of Aleve in my volleyball bag in HS. Of course, I remember my father coming down when he saw an administrator going through my bag during a match (because I was playing at the time and my bag was tucked behind the bench) and the admin damn near got a beatdown because my dad thought that he was stealing things from people's bags.

Fucking ridiculous. You can pry my OTC shiz out of my cold dead hands.
posted by sperose at 6:54 PM on January 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


I opened a bunch of Metafilter posts (including this one, without recognizing the chemical name) just before swiping a leftover prescription 800mg ibuprofen pill from my brother-in-law, taking the pill, and returning to the web browser to read. In hindsight, if I'd known I was going to be strip searched and sent to court, I think I might have just stuck with an ice pack...
posted by roystgnr at 6:55 PM on January 16, 2009


I think this case will really torment the SC. On one hand they, like all red-blooded Americans, hate pedophiles and want them tortured and killed in a way that is inhumane as medically possible...On the other hand, the "conservative" members of the court desire to undermine the rights of citizens to be free from unreasonable search.

While "liberal" members of the court desire to undermine the rights of citizens to a jury trial. It's a real pickle.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:57 PM on January 16, 2009


A little too much ibuprofen can kill you. But having said that, I think if that were my child, heads would roll. And NOT HERS.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:21 PM on January 16 [1 favorite +] [!]


I'm not trying to suggest that massive quantities of ibuprofen are good for you, but it is much harder to kill yourself with ibuprofen than with acetominophen (paracetamol). Acetominophen is the most common cause of liver failure in the US and UK [citation], and simply taking two extra-strength Tylenol tablets four times a day can be enough to cause overdose [citation].

That said, I'm sure the perverse school administrators didn't care if they were looking for Tylenol or Advil in her unmentionables. /threadjack
posted by workerant at 8:09 PM on January 16, 2009


Under what circumstances is the strip search of a child reasonable?
None comes to mind except for some kind of immediate threat to life, such as they've threatened suicide and may have a razor blade or some sort of chemical on them that they could use to kill themselves.
Other than that, I can't think of any circumstance under which my boot wouldn't find itself buried way up someone's rear end.

"So the case seems like it'll be really perplexing, and I wouldn't be surprised if blows are exchanged during the deliberation."

Well, certainly that would be a matter of ... huh huh huh 'blows' huh huh...anyway, uh...forgot what I was going to say.

"And this whole issue of controlling every single aspect of our children's life until they have absolutely no sense of self-agency or personal responsibility just makes me SO DAMN MAD."

I'm hesitant to go pointing the finger at anyone as a pedophile or sexual predator, etc. Given the circumstances, he doesn't sound like he was there directly.
Yeah, the power thing, but that's fairly flimsy in terms of prosecution - true or not.

I will say though, this general trend does ENABLE pedophiles and other abuses of power for exactly that reason above. I teach my child they are responsible for themselves and no one has the right to touch them, etc. Basic self-ownership without driving them into paranoid hysteria about the man in the bushes.
So I'd expect if a child of mine were subject to this there'd be a major butting of heads. Which, actually, would probably wind up being worse for my kid in this situation. Because they wouldn't acquiesce to this.
But what, I'm supposed to say it's ok for them to listen to some schmuck just because he's got a suit on? I'd rather take the hit, have them get expelled, whatever, than strip at the order of anyone with a name badge.
It's not the government who would have to sit with them nights if they got sexually assaulted. It's not the Supreme Courts problem if they get in a car with a stranger who looks like an authority figure. I'd rather not have my school weakening my children's independence. I'm a bear, it's going to be hard enough to get them out from under me (although I am encouraging that, so...).

I am curious what made this school admin think he was right in this? Not just legally correct, or within the bounds of his authority, but right?
He didn't have parents' phone numbers or what? I mean, who's he think he's accountable to anyway? It's not like the DEA signs his check.
Where was the pressure to do this coming from?
posted by Smedleyman at 9:06 PM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


The focus on ibuprofen is wrong, I think. It's the search alone that sets off my outrage alarm. Forget ibuprofen. What imaginary object that the school thought perhaps might exist justifies a strip search? A strip search? In school?

If the school thought the threat/information was credible and serious, it should call the police. If the police agree, then at least it's done in a legal way. (I'm just guessing the police are a bit better at knowing when a strip search is legal.)

A school should not (does not?) have the power to strip search a student for anything they are afraid of, even if Susie in the playground says she saw Mollie hide six syringes and a handgun in her underwear. No, no, no, no, no.

This girl should get a bazillion dollars, preferably from the human beings involved and not the school board. If it's the board, it should at least come with a "stop hiring morons" speech from the presiding judge.

(Also: I liked the "cutsie" presentation, mullingitover. It created the right surprise effect.)
posted by rokusan at 11:38 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


In hindsight, if I'd known I was going to be strip searched and sent to court, I think I might have just stuck with an ice pack...

Dude, the strip search is a benefit of your $5 membership fee.

(Brings a whole new delicious meaning to "sockpuppet", doesn't it?)
posted by rokusan at 11:40 PM on January 16, 2009


A little too much ibuprofen can kill you.

Or vitamins. Or water.
posted by rokusan at 11:43 PM on January 16, 2009


Wouldn't this case be far more interesting if they'd not found the drugs?

That being said, why did the girl consent to the search, when she actually had the stuff? Why didn't she instead say "Goodbye, I'm going home."? And then walk off school property. That is exactly what I did, at age 12, when I was refusing to comply with the order to present my ass, bent over the principle's desk, to be abused by the principle and his ass istant. At least, she should have refused to cooperate, and made any and all possible trouble.

The insanity that this is over ibuprofen just makes the whole thing total insanity. Insanity that does nothing to promote education in any meaningful sense (assuming that compliance-to-authority is not part of the goals of education, in a free society), and is rooted in the nonsense of the 'war on drugs'.

Of course, some argue based on the dangers of ordinary drugs, prescription over OTC. Yes, there are dangers. The world is a dangerous place. It is also dangerous to make a habit of submission to authority. Dangerous, and un-American. "Following orders" is not a legal excuse. So long as that is the case, teaching the absolute submission to authority is undesirable.

What lesson is learned from this entire episode, other than the absurdity of authority? The entire system is full of shit, and stupid enough to bend over backwards to constantly remind everyone of that fact, while demanding respect. Home of the brave? LOL! Home of the petty tyrants.
posted by Goofyy at 3:14 AM on January 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


BAN EVERYTHING YOU WILL BE SEARCHED FOR ANY TRACES OF ANYTHING LEFT ON YOUR PERSON
posted by tehloki at 3:57 AM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


i realized i never, ever want to end up teaching in high school

Actually, teaching in high school isn't bad at all, but dealing with high school administrators is about as much fun as a proctologist with cold hands.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:48 AM on January 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


why did the girl consent to the search, when she actually had the stuff?

She didn't have the stuff, and she didn't consent to a strip search. A friend of hers got caught with ibuprofen and a naprosyn, and in panic blamed this girl for giving them to her. They strip searched her with no evidence other than the guilty girl's word.

And she consented to a search of her bag -- which found nothing, either -- but not a strip search. It's all there in the opinion.
posted by msalt at 1:02 PM on January 17, 2009


The principal may have made a serious error in judgment (and should be punished) but the conditions of the search were done properly according to protocol so as to remove any risk of improper sexual conduct.

The school has a protocol for strip searching? Seriously?
posted by odinsdream at 2:48 PM on January 17, 2009


dealing with high school administrators is about as much fun as a proctologist with cold hands.

That's the thing. I don't think there's very many high schools where the administration would allow me to treat students like humans.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:45 AM on January 18, 2009


The school has a protocol for strip searching? Seriously?

A kid I know was suspected for having pot on him so the principal called Officer Friendly in to run a strip search. Of course, they called his mom first.
I can't tell which is more evil- strip-searching over alleged pot or the fact that his mom said yes.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:34 AM on January 18, 2009


« Older Rick Steves' Iran   |   Popaganda Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post