Friday, June 26, 2009

The Coming Crotch Contraband Epidemic

I don't really talk about politics, government, or the law here, but this one really jumped out at me.

I read briefly about the recent Supreme Court strip search decision (short version: 13 year old girl was strip searched at school because another student said she was carrying ibuprofen - she wasn't and the court decided that her rights re: "unreasonable search and seizure" had been violated), but what caught my eye is that it was an 8-1 decision. Who was the lone dissenter? Clarence Thomas. Check these quotes from his opinion (begins on p.23):

"Judges are not qualified to second-guess the best manner for maintaining quiet and order in the school environment."

"Redding would not have been the first person to conceal pills in her undergarments. Nor will she be the last after today's decision, which announces the safest place to secrete contraband in school."

Thomas' opinion seems to be saying that, in effect, students should hand over their constitutional rights and protections at the schoolhouse door. If you have a problem with that, he has some suggestions (here he quotes himself, from an earlier opinion):

“If parents do not like the rules imposed by those schools, they can seek redress in school boards or legislatures; they can send their children to private schools or home school them; or they can simply move.”

The one thing they shouldn't be able to do, in Thomas' opinion, is challenge anything a school chooses to do on constitutional grounds.

I think we now have a slightly better idea of what Clarence Thomas' America would look like. I'm thankful that it only exists in his mind.

Side Note

Of course, there are cases where parents upset with school policies might be well-served to follow Thomas' advice to home school or "simply move". This one in particular comes to mind.

No comments: