I am not going wail on all the things that are ridiculous in our society, though certainly there are many. However, I am absolutely disgusted by a case I read about in the New York Times today. A law suit is coming before the US Supreme Court after 6 years working its way up. The case, astoundingly, is about a strip-search performed on a 13-year old eighth-grade girl by two female teachers. I repeat: a 13 year old girl was strip-searched by her teachers. I do not think it is unreasonable to be appalled by this shocking perversion, and, in fact, the most horrifying part is that , as one Professor Arum of New York University says, "reasonable people can disagree about what is appropriate under the circumstances." Really? When is it EVER appropriate to make a 13 year old girl strip down to her underwear and let two adult women look in her bra and panties.
Let me, for the sake of being reasonable, explain the circumstances: This eighth-grade girl was accused by a fellow student of bringing prescription strength ibuprofen to school with her (the equivalent of 2 normal Advil--oh no!). So her brilliant teachers decided the appropriate plan of action was to make this girl strip to her underwear. Then, as the girl explains, “they asked me to pull out my bra and move it from side to side. They made me open my legs and pull out my underwear.” Though I consider it absolutely irrelevant, they did not, by the way, find any drugs in the girl's possession.
Please do not even tell me if you are not as disgusted and outraged by this obvious violation of individual rights as I am. How dare anyone do such a thing? This is how we are trying to combat drug use, by subjecting CHILDREN to humiliating and unfounded searches of their physical BODIES?!? How could there be any question if this is EVER appropriate? I don't care if the girl had 50 tons of cocaine stuffed in her bra, there is NEVER a time when a child should be subjected to that kind of treatment. How perverted! If I was the mother of that girl I would have torn those teachers limb from limb. Honestly, since when do we live in a country where all rights to personal security and privacy can be disregarded because of a simple suspicion? Does it makes sense to ANYONE that to search someone's private property requires a court mandated Search Warrant, and yet to search the most private, personal and sacred property of an individual, their own body, is at the whim of clearly irrational people? This is UNACCEPTABLE! In my opinion this qualifies as sexual molestation. Forcing a minor to uncover their body in front of adults certainly fits my definition of molestation. How could anyone justify that kind of degradation? What would you do if someone forced you to undress and submit your body to a search; or if they asked your children or siblings or other loved ones to experience such shame and humiliation? I wouldn't stand for it! We cannot stand for it. We live in a democratic country where the rights of individuals are valued. This is NOT IRAN--in Iran things like this occur every day under the Islamic Republic (see the news or read Reading Lolita in Tehran if you want proof and want to know why this is not where we want to be headed!). Is that the kind of country we want for ourselves and for future generations? I don't.
If the best the United States and our school districts can do to combat the drug problem among United States citizens is to strip down children on school campuses we have much bigger problems than an economic low. We are morally defunct. I am truly appalled and enraged by this story and by the assertion that there is even a question as to the illegal and immoral nature of such an act. This is utterly against everything I believe in. If we don't protect our children, what have we become? I do not believe such behavior can be punished severely enough. When we live in a society where we cannot allow teachers to have kindergartners sit on their laps because of legal liability, how can there be any question about whether a teacher can make a student take off their clothes on school property or anywhere else without legal ramifications? We are not Islamic Fundamentalists. Unfortunately, however, it appears that we have become so radical in our efforts to weed out one evil we have begun to permit other evils--in my opinion even more sever and degrading evils. Anyone who could allow this kind of action against a child may need to explore their own values and determine where they cross the line between helping and hurting in attempts to prevent drug use. I am horrified, shocked and thoroughly distressed by this news. What is happening to our country and our world?