Savana Redding was taken out of class by vice-Principal Kerry Wilson and brought to his office where she denied providing the pills to a classmate. She was then taken by administrative assistant Helen Romero to the school nurse Peggy Schwallier's office where she was strip-searched.
Savana Redding says she was ordered to strip to her underwear, move her bra to the side and pull her underwear out, exposing her pelvic area and breasts. No pills were found.
The school argued that the search was reasonable and justified because pills had been found on campus and a student had linked them to Redding. Matthew Wright, a lawyer for the school district said
"When it comes to drugs and weapons, school districts just can't take the chance of not going forward and being sure."
Savana's mother, April Redding, filed a federal lawsuit against the district and Middle School officials for violating Savanna's Fourth Amendment rights.
In September 2007, a three judge panel of the very liberal Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the school's search was constitutional. The court said the search was "reasonably related in scope to circumstances that justified search, as required for search to be reasonable under Fourth Amendment."
The case is now being appealed before the full Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Again another case of schools teaching kids that they have no rights and authority must be blindly followed.
Here is a letter that Savana Redding wrote to the Eastern Arizona Courier newspaper:
I am the girl whose story you published as “Court Rules Strip Search Not Violation of Rights.” Let me first of all say I am not angry that the article was published. I am, however, offended by the way the article makes it seem as though I were some kind of troublemaker.
When I was in middle school, I was a very shy and awkward kid, but I almost always made the honor roll and had never even been in detention. I’m not going to go into detail about what was said and done leading up to my traumatic experience because that would only complicate what I’m trying to accomplish with this letter.
First, I can understand how the school would want to keep the students safe by keeping drugs out, but to me, just because two students say it, doesn’t mean it is true; that does not count as reasonable grounds for a strip search in my mind.
Second, even if a school has real reasonable grounds and thought it best to search the student’s person, then it should at least call in the mother or the police to do it. The school did not give me that luxury. Instead, the vice principal instructed me to follow the nurse and the secretary to the nurse’s office.
Once there, the nurse and secretary had me undress in front of them. While I was staring at the floor, embarrassed and ashamed, they were searching every seam, every crease, even a hole in my shoe. You already published the most humiliating part, so for my own sake I will not repeat it.
After I was allowed to put my clothes back on, I was made to sit in a chair in the office for more than two hours. I kept asking them when I could call my mom or even just get out of there so I wouldn’t have to look either of those women in the eyes. Nobody would tell me anything.
That day, I had an essay due, so when they finally let me go, I called my mom to let her know I would be a little late so she would have to pick me up from school because I wouldn’t make the bus. I wanted badly to tell her what had just happened, but I looked up to find the secretary looking at me as if daring me to say something. Shameful, I said nothing. When my mom pulled up to get me, I was still in the library, so she learned from one of my friends what had happened.
Some people have asked me, “Why did you let them do that to you?” And it has been eating at me for years. I was in counseling for a while, but it didn’t help. I kept blaming myself. If only I had refused, what would have happened? I didn’t know I could refuse; I thought they were allowed to do it. I was only 13, and I had never been in trouble for anything before. I thought that if I refused, they would think I did have drugs and I would be in worse trouble.
So let me just end by asking one question: How would you feel? How would you feel if you were one day called into the office of your school or workplace, put into a room with two people you see every weekday and told to remove your clothes and show your body to them? Or even as a parent, how would you feel if you showed up one day to pick up your daughter or son (who had never been in any kind of trouble) from school and one of his or her friends told you your child was instructed to expose himself or herself to these school officials because two other students claimed that your child had brought ibuprofen to school?
These people may not have physically harmed me, but I feel violated and hurt just the same, and I don’t believe they should have the right to walk around unaffected, knowing they got away with it.