Know Your Rights: Students Are Protected from Strip Searches by School Officials

By: Wallin & Klarich

The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided a strip search was illegal where a minor student was suspected of carrying Ibuprofen on campus. During an incident in 2003 at Safford Middle School, a student told school officials that Savana Redding was carrying the painkillers. Two female staffers proceeded to conduct the strip search of Redding, but found no pills. The Supreme Court affirmed the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruling in Safford United School District v. Redding (DJDAR 9383).

The decision of the court was based in part on existing California rulings, where strip searches in schools are banned.

In its decision, the court held that the school officials search violated Redding’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures because it went beyond the grounds of “reasonableness” that were defined by a previous case in 1985. The court opinioned that the content of the suspicion of a drug offense failed to match the degree of intrusion on Redding, mostly due to the lack of evidence of any danger to Redding or other students under the circumstances. Justice Souter clarified that there must be a “reasonable suspicion of danger” before school officials can “make the quantum leap from outer clothes and backpacks to exposure of intimate parts.”

If you have been accused of a crime in California, a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help by investigating your case to see if you experienced unreasonable search and/or seizure. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been protecting the rights of those facing criminal offenses for 30 years and have the knowledge and resources that you need during this challenging time. Contact our firm today by calling 1-888-280-6839 or visit our website at for more information.

Posted In: Criminal Defense