Monday, April 27, 2009

Taking Leave of our Senses

Believe it or not, the Supreme Court is set to hear a case being argued by the ACLU, and I actually agree with the civil liberties brigade! This is a rarity, considering most of the time I think the ACLU needs to get over themselves and stop destroying our freedom.

The case involves a girl named Savanna Redding, who, when she was thirteen, was strip-searched by Arizona school officials looking for contraband ibuprofen. Yes, you read that right. They were looking for an over-the-counter drug used to relieve headaches and menstrual cramps of all things.

The trouble started when another student was found with ibuprofen and blamed Savanna. When a search of Savanna's backpack didn't reveal any forbidden medications, the school nurse and a female secretary performed a strip search, even making her shake out her underwear and bra.

I'm sorry, but this is outrageous! Stripping a thirteen-year old girl down to nothing because of the accusation of another adolescent is horrifying, and that applies even if we are talking about heroin. But we aren't. We are talking about ibuprofen, for crying out loud!

Apparently there is some question of whether the ibuprofen they were searching for was "prescription strength" which in my opinion, is completely irrelevant. So we are talking about two Advil instead of one. Big whoop. The fact is that schools should not be performing strip searches on anyone, for any reason. If there is a legal or criminal issue at hand then law enforcement should be called in, and at the very least the parents should be notified.

I called my sister, who lives in Arizona, to ask about the drug policies of her children's schools. She told me that her kids aren't allowed to carry medications for any reason. That means if you would like your menstruating daughter to have access to Midol, you must sign a form and then take a bottle of the pain-reliever (in its original packaging) to the school nurse, who will dispense the medication to your child, should she come asking.

I don't know about you, but when I was thirteen I was still working out the embarrassments and hush-hush situations that arose from having my period. You would have had to kill me before I would have even considered going to ask the nurse for some Midol.

I understand that schools do not want drugs on their campuses. But let's use our heads, people. Tylenol and Advil are not the sort of drugs that kids are going to be snorting between classes. Heaven forbid we allow our teenagers to handle their own headache relief.

And another thing: I find it absolutely unfathomable that OTC pain relievers are forbidden, and yet many schools pass out condoms and birth control pills without parental consent. There is even legislation out there pushing for teens to be allowed to have abortions without having to let their parents know. But if they have a headache they can't be trusted to take care of it themselves?

This is so ludicrous I can't even stand to write about it any more. I have to go bang my head against a wall now.

5 comments:

jmm43 said...

Stupid, stupid, stupid. I always had a big bottle of tylenol in my locker all through high school. It was a life saver. I guess I could have become addicted to caffeinated beverages like everyone else.

Sara said...

I actually had a bottle of Advil confiscated from my locker during a random drug search at my SMALL RURAL high school because it could be considered "contraband." Oh please.

I absolutely agree. Strip searching, regardless of what it is for, is absolutely positively outrageous. As is the blanket ban on medications.

Did you know in some states/districts children with allergies are not allowed to carry their own Epi Pens? The school nurse has to keep it. Because, you know, in the case of a life-threatening anaphalactic reaction someone has the time to run track down the school nurse ...it's why they came up with Epi Pens for crying out loud!

Sometimes I think we as a society forget to use a little common sense once in awhile.

Mandy said...

I know that schools are under a lot of pressure to keep students safe, but first of all, to ban OTC medications is just overkill.

I absolutely agree, strip searching a child is completely unacceptable in any setting, ESPECIALLY when all you are looking for is OTC Advil. This kind of nonsense is why I desperately want to homeschool my daughter.

I am so glad the young lady this happened to is standing up and challenging this sort of behavior.

fiona said...

Wow, I would be FURIOUS if that happened to my daughter! I can't believe her school did that -- so wrong. I understand trying to keep schools safe and drug-free, but where is common sense in all this??

Stephanie Black said...

It's sad how uncommon common sense has become. And it makes steam come out of my ears that a kid can't keep Advil in her purse, but can get an abortion without her parents knowing. That's just insane.