Tiffany entered the girl’s bathroom to find Claire at the sink.
The two girls ignored each other. Claire was a goth girl. Tiffany was head cheerleader and a top student.
Claire gasped in pain. She grabbed a pill from her purse.
“Hey! We’re not allowed to bring drugs to school!” Tiffany said.
“Oh please. It’s one lousy painkiller.”
“That’s against school policy and you know it.”
“Actually, I haven’t committed every rule to memory like you have. It’s for my period cramps, okay??”
“Well, It’s wrong!!”
Mrs. Chalmsky stormed in. “What’s going on?”
She saw the pill in Claire’s hand. “What is that?”
“That’s unauthorized medication. You’re coming down to the principal’s.”
“What about Tiffany? She gave it to me.”
“What?!” Tiffany said.
“Honour student Tiffany?” Mrs. Chalmsky was doubtful.
“Appearances are deceptive,” Claire said.
“Okay, you’re both going to the principal’s office,” Mrs. Chalmsky decided.
“I’ve never been in any trouble before!” Tiffany cried.
“Welcome to my world,” Claire smirked.
The principal was stern. “Claire, you’re suspended for taking a painkiller. And Tiffany…”
Tiffany protested. “I don’t have any medication! Look in my purse!”
“There are other places to hide pills,” Claire innocently suggested.
Hanley sighed. “Mrs. Chalmsky will perform a body search of Tiffany.”
Mrs. Chalmksy took Tiffany into a room and asked her to empty her pockets.
Nothing but gum.
“Now, please remove your sweater and your jeans.”
“Take my clothes off?!”
“It’s school policy.”
In tears, Tiffany stripped down to her underwear.
“Now, pull your bra out to see if any drugs fall out. Same with your panties.”
Horrified, Tiffany did as she was told.
“I told you there was nothing!” Tiffany howled.
Tiffany’s parents were outraged. “We’re taking the school to court.”
IN THE COURTROOM
The school stood firm. “We have zero tolerance for all drugs including over the counter remedies. Children must be protected from prescription drugs.”
Tiffany argued back. “It’s unreasonable to strip search a 13-year-old honour student because you think she’s brought ibuprofen to school!”
Was the search legal? You! Be The Judge. Then look below for the decision.
“Illegal!” held the Judge. “Strip searching a girl for allegedly possessing ibuprofen, a minor infraction, was excessively intrusive. Especially when it was based on a tip of Claire who was facing significant punishment.”
Today’s column is based on a case from Arizona. The characters and the scenarios are fictional. Any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental. The information in this column does not constitute legal advice. If you have a similar problem, consult a lawyer in your province. Elissa Bernstein is a lawyer and internationally syndicated columnist. Copyright 2009 Haika Enterprises, all rights reserved.