More Lunacy

Via James Joyner, more lunacy in the drug war front:

The strip-search case was brought by the mother of Savana Redding, who in 2003 was an eighth-grade student at a public middle school in Safford, Ariz. Another student, found with ibuprofen pills in violation of a strict school policy, said Savana had given them to her.

School officials searched Savana’s belongings, made her strip to her bra and underwear, and ordered her, in the words of an appeals court, “to pull her bra out to the side and shake it” and “pull out her underwear at the crotch and shake it.” No pills were found. The pills that prompted the search had the potency of two over-the-counter Advil capsules.

A trial judge dismissed the parent’s case against the school officials, ruling that they were immune from suit. After a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed that decision, the full appeals court agreed to a rehearing. By 6 to 5, a larger panel of the court reversed the decision, saying the suit could go forward against the assistant principal who had ordered the search.

“It does not require a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13-year-old child is an invasion of constitutional rights of some magnitude,” Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote for the majority, quoting a decision in another case. “More than that: it is a violation of any known principle of human dignity.”

Judge Michael Daly Hawkins, dissenting, said the case was in some ways “a close call,” given the “humiliation and degradation” Savana had endured. But, Judge Hawkins concluded, “I do not think it was unreasonable for school officials, acting in good faith, to conduct the search in an effort to obviate a potential threat to the health and safety of their students.”

While James and the Supreme Court are focusing on worthwhile Constitutional issues, this seems to me to be missing the point, and akin to trying to cure heart disease by making better defibrillators. We need to look at what got us to this point that school officials would even CONSIDER performing a strip search for over the counter medication. This is a manifestation of decades of drug war mania and the ensuing zero tolerance idiocy.

This sort of thing should never have risen to the point that it is a constitutional issue, as this is an issue of common sense. It makes no sense to strip search kids for a pill they can buy at any store without any questions asked, yet this sort of nonsense happens every single day (albeit perhaps not to this degree). This is the school equivalent of the TSA pouring out breast milk because they are worried about lactating mothers blowing up planes. It is insanity, and zero tolerance is shorthand for zero thinking.

That seems to me to be the bigger issue.

72 replies
  1. 1
    linda says:

    well, in all fairness, the tsa rule you cite is way more improved from the initial tsa rule. i will never get over the profound degradation those ignorant fucking asshole pigs imposed on the several women this happened to:

    JFK airport security forces woman to drink own breast milk

    NEW YORK (AP) — A woman, a baby and three milk-filled bottles.

    That scene convinced a security guard at John F. Kennedy International Airport to force a Long Island mother to drink from three bottles filled with her own breast milk.

    The demand, part of a post-Sept. 11 increase in airport security, was apparently made to ensure the liquid posed no threat to other passengers. The requirement was within federal guidelines at the time, but the policy has since been changed.

    http://www.usatoday.com/travel.....curity.htm

  2. 2
    vishnu schizt says:

    We can all thank Tip O’Neill and Saint Ronnie for the drug war lunacy, well Len Bias too, maybe if he had been drafted by the Lakers instead of the Celts, Tip wouldn’t have gone on his rampage. Another blow OD in LA wouldn’t have even registered on Richter scale. SoCal would have thought, well at least he was one of us. Alas, Len died a Celtic, and the white Irish Catholics weren’t going to put up with no cocaine thing. They rioted after getting hammered at the local pub.

  3. 3
    Walker says:

    We need to look at what got us to this point that school officials would even CONSIDER performing a strip search for over the counter medication.

    Are we sure that they were over-the-counter? The article says they were the same strength as over-the-counter, but that is not the same. There are prescription pills that have similar strength to over-the-counters (because of how fast things move over-the-counter today). The possession of a prescription container that does not have your name on it certainly arises suspicion (though the article says she just has pills, not a container).

    I am not saying the school was justified. I am just trying to figure out what the facts are.

  4. 4
    Reverend Dennis says:

    The War on Drugs is like someone trying to drive a nail with their forehead: no matter how many times they fail the answer is inevitably "Pound harder!"
    We’ve only been at it since 1914 (Harrison Narcotics Act). Don’t think, boys, pound harder.

  5. 5
    kay says:

    "looking for prescription-strength ibuprofen"

    "The pills that prompted the search had the potency of two over-the-counter Advil capsules."

    It’s not crystal clear from the linked article, but it sounds like the pills found weren’t over the counter.

    A strip search is outrageous, in any event. They do steal prescription drugs from parents, though. The stories are sometimes really sad, because they’re getting the really powerful pain killers they show up with from seriously ill parents or grandparents, although not in this case, and then you have to worry if they’re medicating rather than mourning.

  6. 6

    Ah yes, the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security have saved us from another terrorist attack. The government is keeping the streets of America safe by forcing teenage girls to strip down to their skivvies in search of LEGAL OTC drugs.

    I would also like to thank my rooster, who crows each and every morning, for ensuring the sun also rises. Where the fuck is my shotgun so I can end this now!

  7. 7
    Faux News says:

    Isn’t living in Wignut Fascist American fun? Imagine if Angry Old Man McSame and the Sociopath Caribou Barbie were being inaugurated on Tuesday?

    :shudder:

  8. 8
    kay says:

    I think John’s larger point is dead-on. People look for black letter rules when they don’t want to rely on common sense and discretion. It’s a dodge.
    These issues are HARD. Schools get them dumped in their laps, but it’s always been so. Adults can’t just decide they don’t want to make judgment calls, and rely on draconian rules.

  9. 9
    Ruth says:

    If the child had had pills, she would have swallowed them quickly to get rid of the evidence, which could have been fatal.

  10. 10
    Comrade Darkness says:

    Speaking of well-placed rage. This kind of crap reminds me how much I loathed school. Nothing like being a prisoner of a bunch of egotistical, short-sighted wankers.

  11. 11
    kay says:

    @Comrade Darkness:

    I hated school, too. I never figured out exactly what they were all about, or what I was supposed to be doing. I was doing the work. More ass-kissing seemed to be required, to really thrive.

    I never got it.

  12. 12
    former capitalist says:

    Thanks for the comment, John. Unfortunately, as was discussed in the post yesterday, the chances of the WOD (and the Patriot Act) being scrapped, or even modified, are somewhere between slim and none. And no, I don’t see the PE’s administration changing things. They’ve got a bigger mess to worry about than peoples’ freedoms.

    TGP: It’s so damn cold here that my rooster didn’t crow this morning. Those poor hens must be sick and tired of being shut up with the horny old guy for so long.

  13. 13
    Comrade Darkness says:

    I never got it.

    The only thing I could figure was it was some kind of daily Operation Lord of the Flies with the intent of destroying any creative diversion from a narrow, callow norm.

  14. 14

    @former capitalist: It was -12F here this morning so my guy didn’t actually sound off either AND the sun still came up. Who knew, eh?

  15. 15
    Mark-NC says:

    This is a matter of perception!

    If you are a non-Republican – you believe that this is over the top crap brought about by fear, stupidity, and draconian rules fostered on school officials that would be punished if they didn’t comply.

    If you are a Republican – you believe that the rules are there for the good of God-fearing people. The girl should have been stripped butt-naked and paraded throughout the school totally naked for maximum humiliation as a lesson in "morals & values".

    It’s all in the way you look at the world. For another example of a perception split – see Sarah Palin.

  16. 16
    jon says:

    First of all, it was Safford Middle School in my lovely home town of Tucson, Arizona.

    Secondly, it was a strong dose of medicine for a young girl who had to shake out her bra and panties in front of a few people trying to find little things within. And they watched very carefully to ensure that there wasn’t any funny stuff going on. And probably only asked her to do it again once or twice.

    Oh yeah, they found nothing.

    I’m sure the school officials will put all the blame in its proper place: at the feet of the confidential informant.

  17. 17
    former capitalist says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: Yep, whodanode?

  18. 18
    Rosali says:

    I had a little McDonald’s bottle of milk tested by the TSA at the airport. They seemed happy to find some "contraband" because it gave the supervisor an opportunity to train the new guy. While they were making a big show of going through their testing procedures, I opened the bottle and gave it to my toddler to drink. They were still waiting for the results when the evidence was gone.

  19. 19
    kay says:

    @Comrade Darkness:

    I still prefer the delinquents I deal with who won’t ass-kiss. They have a certain stoic dignity. They won’t play, and they know they are going to suffer for that. I like them better than the charming liars, although the charming liars come out ahead, always.

  20. 20
    AkaDad says:

    If any school official strip searches my daughter, they’re going to need something stronger than Advil when I’m done.

    /internet tough guy

  21. 21
    Person of Choler says:

    Obama will be in charge of the Federal Government in a few days. Let me know when he gets busy righting the wrongs of the war on drugs and the TSA.

  22. 22
    MikeJ says:

    Oh yeah, they found nothing.

    What if she’d had a half sheet of blotter and two balloons of china white? Would the outcome make the search retroactively reasonable?

  23. 23
    KeithW says:

    Why is this a constitutional question? Seems to me to be a simple case of sexual assault of a minor.

  24. 24
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @kay: "I still prefer the delinquents I deal with who won’t ass-kiss"

    That defined my friends, so yeah. Whenever I run into old friends with my over achieving partner in tow, partner says later, you went to a really crappy school, and I say, no I hung out with losers, they were much better friends.

  25. 25
    Scott H says:

    “It does not require a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13-year-old child is an invasion of constitutional rights of some magnitude,” Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote for the majority

    Seems pretty clear to me, and I have to wonder on what the lesser panels based their opinion.

    There’s process due whether it’s ibuprofen, oxycontin, or the potentially more dangerous peanut butter sandwich. And good judgment.

  26. 26
    dbrown says:

    I feel sorry for all the people with their horror stories about airport security – the people at my home airport Balt/Wash Int. are really professional (in the good sense of the word), fair and also nice. These people operate so fast that even lines that run down most of the hallway takes less than ten minutes to get through. The problem is these are civil servants that really like their work and try to be fair and courteous – something that repub-a-thugs can’t stand. The government really does work and works very well when you put smart competent people in charge – not as cheap as if it was farmed out for slave wages but you generally get what you pay for.
    As for the horny fucker strip-searching a child was outrageous – where the fuck were the female cops making sure that the girl was protected, at least? Still, searching anyone over a clearly marked pill that is an over-the-counter med (the strength is irrelevant) is beyond stupid. By the way, trying to make an issue out of prescription ibuprofen vs. over-the-counter is also idiotic – this is the same drug.

  27. 27
    kay says:

    @Person of Choler:

    Obama will appoint some federal judges who may protect constitutional rights.

    The courts are the big prize, as conservatives well know.

  28. 28
    Iowa Housewife says:

    The Patriot Act is working I tell ya. Yesterday when I was signing all the papers for my re-fi, one was a paper declaring that I am not a terrorist.

  29. 29
    The Moar You Know says:

    Obama will be in charge of the Federal Government in a few days. Let me know when he gets busy righting the wrongs of the war on drugs and the TSA.

    @Person of Choler: Sadly, on this you’ve got the Dems dead to rights. Dick Nixon started the initial blaze, but congressional Dems have joined in to throw buckets of gasoline on it, especially (as noted above) Tip O’Neil.

    Same with the TSA bullshit. Oh yeah, the Republicans were the absolute majority, but the number of Dems who voted against this bullshit was pretty fucking small.

    The drug war song-and-dance is a two-party invention. I don’t know how we go about stopping it.

  30. 30

    Back in 1968 I was a senior in high school, had a Beatle haircut (which was radical in my little burg) and was trying to grow a beard. Now there were court rulings that allowed kids to have long hair but none yet that had ruled on facial hair. Never mind I was number one in my class and was a quiet kid who never got into trouble. I was kicked out for having the beard. Worse, there were kids who wanted to grab me and "give me a haircut" vigilante-style.

    The irony was that a few years later, on leave from the army, I ran into one of the kids who wanted to cut off my hair. He looked like an Allman Brother, hair draggling down to his shoulders, and he was a big druggie. Apparently, long hair and drug use had become acceptable in his social circle.

    Point is, whatever the community standards there are people who need to spend their time and who feel it is their appointed duty to go around fitting round pegs into square holes to prevent disorder from descending on their world. Never discount the needs of conformists. There are many and they want to keep you in line.

  31. 31
    former capitalist says:

    @dbrown: It depends on the airport. But no matter where it is, it’s still embarrassing to have some guy wand your behind in front of a hundred other people. (Long story, explain some other time.)

  32. 32
    bago says:

    It would be fun for a Lawyer in this case to ask about the drug usage patterns of the judge and demand the same actions that were used against the plaintiff used in the courtroom.

    Baliff, the Judge has admitted to a headache and the usage of known drugs. Please make her shake her bra out so that we can prove she is not concealing any more narcotics.

  33. 33
    The Moar You Know says:

    Airport horror stories? I’ve got two from the same trip.

    I had to fly from San Diego to Oakland two weeks after 9/11.

    Leaving San Diego, I watched two National Guardmen make a guy get out of his wheelchair and drag himself through the metal detector while the two Guardsmen searched the wheelchair for bombs. No, I am not joking.

    Oakland used private security. They were pissed as they’d all been given notice that they were going to be replaced. The lines were about a half-mile long. I watched as the screeners took the cane from a blind woman, refused her friend permission to escort her through the metal detector, and made this poor woman go through the detector without cane or assistance.

    I don’t blame Bush or the Republicans for these incidents, oddly enough. None of this was government policy (although it was certainly not discouraged behavior, either). This was the fault of my fellow citizens, goaded by fear into releasing their inner Gestapo. Most of us have one, and those lowest on the power/money chain (like rent-a-cops) are the ones most likely to abuse their fellow citizens when they percieve that there will be no repercussions for doing so.

  34. 34
    Damned at Random says:

    I got a call at work some years ago from the high school saying that drugs had been found in a random search of my stepdaughter’s locker. I raced over, thinking, "please let it just be pot." (My stepdaughter’s real mom was a meth addict – long story.) Turned out is was OTC Tylenol (or menstrual cramps) and an antibiotic (for a urinary tract infection) in a prescription bottle with her name on it. By the time I drove the 4 miles to the school, the vice principal had found both pills in the PDR and knew they weren’t street drugs. I told them what I thought of their reflexive "no tolerance" policy. Had they strip searched the kid, there would have been bloodshed.

  35. 35
    Laura W says:

    @Iowa Housewife: Speaking of drugs, education & lunacy, Iowa Housewife and I shared all of them in massive quantities back in the day. (I’m on your left.)

    UCSB circa 1980? I don’t recall if you were with us when we got busted at the Fleetwood Mac concert on campus for smoking pot under a tarp in the rain? Nothing more than campus police station spanking, as I recall. Good Times.
    (I just listened to the entire My Aim is True on my walk. Were you with us when we drove down to Santa Monica Civic to see Elvis? Did Iggy Pop open?)

    Light years ago, indeed.
    But The Angels Still Wanna Wear My Red Shoes

  36. 36
    JasonF says:

    The reason this is a constitutional question is this: in order to sue a public official for something they’ve done in their official capaciy, you need to demosntrate not only that what they did was unconstitutional, but also that there is clearly defined precedent establishing the unconstitutionality of what they did. In other words, the first time anyone does anything, they get a free pass.

    As you might expect, this leads to a lot of arguing about whether something is really unprecedented. I imagine there were all sorts of arguments along the lines of "Yes, there’s a case involving strip-searching a 10-year-old, but this case involves in 11-year-old, so it’s different" or "In that case, there was a female teacher present during the search of a male student. This case didn’t inolve an opposite gender search, so it doesn’t rise to the level of the previous case."

  37. 37
    Pom says:

    While I agree with most everything contained within the post, in the interests of accuracy, the pill was prescription Ibuprofen, the equivalent of 2 to 3 over the counter tablets. Initially the appellate court upheld the search in a jaw-dropping opinion in 2007. Look at Phaneuf v. Fraiken (2006) 448 F.3d 591, for similar facts with a blistering repudiation of the search. Strip searching kids at school, our education system in action. Good grief.

  38. 38
    QDC says:

    States are free to pass laws that narrow the power that they would otherwise have under the constitution. Just pass a law saying that school employees may not strip search students. Is there some pro-strip-search lobby? Is anyone comfortable with schools having the capacity to do this? Christ, you could even adopt it at the school-board level.

    That said, it’s never a good sign when the Supreme Court takes the other sides’ appeal. I hope she wins the lawsuit, but ensuring that it never happens again (whether by court fiat or by statute or by local policy) should be the goal. That goal can be accomplished legislatively.

  39. 39

    The irony was that a few years later, on leave from the army, I ran into one of the kids who wanted to cut off my hair. He looked like an Allman Brother, hair draggling down to his shoulders, and he was a big druggie. Apparently, long hair and drug use had become acceptable in his social circle.

    Heh. Yeah, around here if you see someone who looks like a sixties-style hippie he’s probably a redneck.

  40. 40
    Person of Choler says:

    Kay, (27) says,
    "Obama will appoint some federal judges who may protect constitutional rights."

    He does not have to wait for the appointment of "some" judges who "may" protect constitutional rights, he can start issuing executive orders his first day in office. But he won’t do anything significant because the drug war and the TSA are huge government-funded "industrial complexes", so big that no politician will dare significantly to tamper with their revenue streams or authority.

    So, again let me know when we can say "Obama has" rather than "Obama will".

  41. 41
    Marshall says:

    Here is a way to think about it –

    Number of arrests for possession of marijuana is about 800,000 arrests for per year, roughly 6% of all arrests. Given that there are over 700 deaths per year during arrest, this would imply somewhere around 40 deaths per year during arrests for possession.

    Number of people in jail simply for possession of marijuana at any one time ? Deliberately not tabulated of course, but estimates run in the hundreds of thousands. Let’s say 100,000 to be conservative – this would include both people in jail over the weekend, and some in prison for long terms.

    Excess mortality from being incarcerated – According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, order one per 1000 per year. For 100,000 inmates, that would be 100 deaths per year.

    Therefore

    Excess mortality from prosecution of marijuana possession : Order 140 or more per year. I would regard these as conservative numbers. The true numbers are likely considerably higher.

    Excess mortality since 1980 : Certainly in the thousands. Possibly in the 10’s of thousands. And this is just for possession, which few people think should even be jail-worthy.

    There is a lot of blood on a lot of hands over this.

  42. 42
    jenniebee says:

    I find it amazing that more people aren’t concerned about this sort of thing. We’ve engineered this huge loophole in the Constitution that allows public schools to be operated and to "ensure safety" in ways that would be completely unacceptable in the general public, and we never seem to get the connection between the erosions of our young people’s expectations of privacy and the erosions of all of our expectations of civil rights. These kids are less than a decade away from being voters who don’t believe there are personal boundaries it is unacceptable for the state to cross because they have never had their own personal boundaries respected by authority.

    Also, for people who don’t know about Ibuprofen, the max dose you should really take in one dose without medical supervision is about 800 mg, with a 1200 mg max daily dose. The OTC pills are each 200 mg, and the bottles usually advise two pills in each dose. Prescription pills are a shocking 400mg. Getting excited about this because the pills involved were bigger is just silly.

  43. 43
    Catsy says:

    Oh, be still my motherfucking bleeding heart. The day I get worked up over a child old enough to be in school at all carrying fucking Ibuprofen of any strength or variety is the day I swallow razor wire, pull it out of my ass, and floss myself to death.

    It’s time for some perspective here, folks. THIS IS ADVIL WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. Prescription-strength or OTC, it’s not a recreational drug. You can hurt yourself taking too much of it, just like you can hurt yourself ingesting too much of anything on this green earth. BUT YOU DON’T FUCKING GET HIGH OFF OF IT. Short of snorting the shit in epic and fatal quantities, it doesn’t affect your grades, cause inattention, give you a buzz, or otherwise in any imaginable way make itself attractive to students who want to do anything other than not have a fucking headache.

    I have an eight year old son in second grade, and I live in an extremely liberal part of the left coast. I am just waiting for one of these chuckleheads to give me flak about something trivial like this. I will land on them with the strength of ten tigers and make them wish they had never engaged me for anything short of finding a fucking crack pipe in his bag.

  44. 44
    kay says:

    @Person of Choler:

    I agree with you. I agree that both Party’s, and both sides, have engaged in this lunacy.
    Liberals to "protect the children" and conservatives to hammer misbehavior.
    Democrats and Republicans do it because there are big political points in "tough on crime".
    My point was simply this: when it reaches the constitutional level, and a "rule" is challenged, whether it’s written by the school board (as here) or by a legislature, I think I’m more likely to get a good result with a Lefty judge.

  45. 45
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Is there some pro-strip-search lobby? Is anyone comfortable with schools having the capacity to do this?

    Zero tolerance is designed to take discretion out of the hands of administrators, thereby eliminating the possibility of their being sued for abusing that discretion, or their employers being sued.

    It’s not a creature concocted by anti-drug zealots — it’s a creature concocted by corporation counsel. It’s a litigation-minimizing device, pure and simple. As objectionable as it is, it’s one reasonable response to a litigious society.

  46. 46
    kay says:

    @jenniebee:

    I think the school rule was probably written to cover prescription drugs, without distinguishing between what dose or kind of prescription drug, so that’s the dividing line. It’s not a justification for the search, but that’s probably how it works, as a practical matter.

    School boards write these rules. That’s where the focus should be. It can’t reach strip-search stage without a lot of stupid rule-writing.

  47. 47
    kay says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    It’s a good point, but it’s much more than that. It also lets them off the hook for accusations of different treatment for different students. That’s common, angry parents claiming bias.
    It makes for ridiculous results.

  48. 48
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @jenniebee: " We’ve engineered this huge loophole in the Constitution that allows public schools to be operated and to "ensure safety" in ways that would be completely unacceptable in the general public, and we never seem to get the connection between the erosions of our young people’s expectations of privacy and the erosions of all of our expectations of civil rights."

    Taking this theory farther, schools as they are encourage entrepreneurship. They are the very pinnacle of organizational dysfunction, facing kids with the choice of a) spend your prime years continually destroyed in a corporate version of same or b) get the hell out and start your own business.

  49. 49
    Cain says:

    My wife is a dentist and you won’t believe the kind of calls she gets from people trying to get pain medication. They’ll say their tooth hurts and they need something stronger. Vicodin is the drug of choice. Apparently, pills of vicodin are worth sometimes 50 bucks a pill. So you can imagine how big of a market it is to get them if addicts are willing to pay that much per pill.

    She was in a near screaming match with one guy, and after she agreed to give him vicodin he suddenly turned respectful and started calling her ‘doctor’. Freaking sad.

    That sad, there is something sick about a group of people forcing a 13 year old girl to strip to her bra and panties. As a parent I would be VERY disturbed and would probably lead a parent revolt and get people to get out of the school. It’s not a good beating these people need, their school needs to be turned into a ghost town.

    cain

  50. 50
    kay says:

    @Cain:

    Vicodin is hot, hot, hot among the "reproduce prescriptions on a high-quality copier" crowd here in rural Ohio.
    My own dentist gives me nothing but an Advil sample, and he parses that out with a stern look, so I don’t know first hand.

  51. 51
    Scott H says:

    @J.D. Rhoades

    Heh. Yeah, around here if you see someone who looks like a sixties-style hippie he’s probably a redneck

    .

    Oh, yeah. I lived in mortal peril over the length of my hair only to return home a couple of years later to the baleful regard of hippie-locked sh!tkickers because of my crew cut. That would have been in the 70’s.

    Then followed piercing of the ears (and eventually points south) and various other "faggot" adornment with about a ten year lag time.

  52. 52
    Don says:

    All this to reduce the chance that some chump will get stoned, eat a whole bag of potato chips, and watch Spongebob. It’s astonishing to me how little our society is interested in comparing risks to rewards.

  53. 53
    Delia says:

    Ten or twelve years ago when my daughter was in middle school and then high school in Orange County, her schools had clear policies that all medications, whether OTC or prescription, had to be left in the school nurse’s office with appropriate paperwork. That meant that if you wanted to take an ibuprofen for a headache or menstrual cramps you had to have your parent drop it at the office and then you had to go see the nurse.

    Also, notice that in this case before the court the school authorities were relying on the word of another student who blamed the girl for giving it to her. We all know how reliable other students are in this sort of situation. The school officials should be liable on that count alone.

  54. 54
    LiberalTarian says:

    The tag here, "The War on Your Neighbor, aka the War on Drugs" is perfect. Let’s hope that our conservative brothers and sisters who are all up in arms about government waste and fraud again (now that they are out of power and are no longer the pez dispensers of waste and fraud they have been for the past decade), they will look to our idiotic incarceration policy.

    But then again, it seems that many of them (the ones with power) butter their bread with these shenanigans, so that might be another pipe dream on my part.

  55. 55
    bago says:

    Where are Vicodins worth a hundred per pop-pop? Seriously. One time I got my junk stuck in a zipper. The doctor gave me 2 days worth of medication. Thank god for the black market. I spent money on pain relief, but DAAAAAMN!

  56. 56
    Iowa Housewife says:

    @Laura W: No I didn’t get busted with you guys. And I may have gone to the concert with you, it is all a little hazy. I do remember when Kelly’s dog fell in the lagoon and when she got out I thought she was a different dog. Ha.

  57. 57
    Andy says:

    I’ve always believed that school administrators actually love "zero-tolerance" policies, because they absolve them of having to make tough or controversial decisions in close cases. Not that this example is a "close case" in any sense; it’s an obscenity.

  58. 58
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole @ Top:

    This sort of thing should never have risen to the point that it is a constitutional issue, as this is an issue of common sense.

    Most constitutional issues are issues of common sense, John.

    .

  59. 59
    Mark Gisleson says:

    Call this what it really is: faux conservatives (wingnuts) teaming up with pantswetting suburban white flight liberals to coerce and control everyone who’s not them.

    The war on drugs has always been a war on the American people. It has nothing to do with drugs. Hell, when I used to build tires for Firestone back in the Mezo-Carter era, plant maintenance personnel would deliver speed to pieceworkers on overtime while the supervisors and guards looked the other way.

    Drugs have always been whatever the establishment want them to be: a tool for exploiting workers, and an excuse for locking them up if and when they get uppity.

  60. 60
    Cain says:

    @kay:

    My own dentist gives me nothing but an Advil sample, and he parses that out with a stern look, so I don’t know first hand.

    I got vicodin once for a back ache. I took about 2-3 doses and decided I didn’t like it and that I would rather deal with the pain. I still have it. It’ sprobably worth 200 bucks :-)

    cain

  61. 61
    Ann Campbell says:

    I was a juvenile corrections officer for a number of years. And I can say with certainty that I never strip searched a child for my own pleasure. In fact, we used to play rock/paper/sissors to try to get out of doing them. Further, while I am an ardent Democrat, after so many years of seeing kids go through the system, I cannot bring myself to dismiss the seriousness of drug use. I saw countless instances of childrens lives destroyed due to their parents drug use. Let’s face it – stoned parents are shitty parents. Perhaps we should advocate a new drug policy – make it legal for anyone who has been sterilized and has no children. That might make drug use a truely victimless crime.

    However, this is no excuse for a school undertaking such a task. If they suspect a crime, a qualified law enforcement officer should be called to deal with the issue.

  62. 62
    Liz says:

    Ann Campbell:

    Perhaps we should advocate a new drug policy – make it legal for anyone who has been sterilized and has no children. That might make drug use a truely victimless crime.

    Are you going to include alcohol in the "sterilize before indulging" pack? Drunk parents aren’t any better than stoned ones. I can vouch.

  63. 63
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @Cain, same here. Somewhere around the 8th surgery, it’s hard to explain to the doc that no, the drugs don’t help. They don’t remove the pain, they remove all will to care about the pain, along with all sense of being alive. They are a living death. I’ve been told tho, this is a wiring issue in my brain that some % of people just have.

  64. 64
    Jrod says:

    Further, while I am an ardent Democrat, after so many years of seeing kids go through the system, I cannot bring myself to dismiss the seriousness of drug use.

    I will dismiss the seriousness of drug abuse, because in nearly every case the drug abuse is less costly and damaging than the drug user’s trip through the just-us system. Also, I really don’t believe you when you say that you saw children’s lives destroyed because their parents were stoned. You do realize that stoned means "high on marijuana", right? What with you being a "corrections officer" and all.

    You gonna tell me that a child is better served by being tossed into foster care (if they are lucky) rather than being raised by parents that smoke fucking weed?

    Go fuck yourself, pig.

  65. 65

    […] Court, continued Filed under: Education, Personal Rights — Luke @ 6:05 pm John Cole weighs in: While James and the Supreme Court are focusing on worthwhile Constitutional issues, this seems to […]

  66. 66
    Shinobi says:

    My boyfriend’s parents smoke weed like reasonable people he is a very well adjusted and capable adult. I also have a friend whose parents did the same, she just finished med school. Maybe the reason it seems like all parents who are messed up are bad parents is because you only ever see the bad ones. I can’t imagine that a police officer sees a representative sample of the population. Especially of drug users, I smoke weed, cops are not allowed in my house.

    The thing that I thought was most fucked up about this, and I guess it’s just a personal thing, is that sometimes, as a 13 year old girl, you fucking need prescription IB profin. (Sometimes as an adult woman, I need fucking vicodin.) It is ridiculous for schools to just say "no meds" and expect that rule to be followed. What are students who are in pain for a week out of a month supposed to do? Stay home? Go to the nurse constantly? Because teachers don’t put the kabosh on that shit. People need to be able to manage their pain, even if they are only 13.

  67. 67

    […] John Cole wrote this so I didn’t have to (it refers to this news story): While James and the Supreme Court are focusing on worthwhile Constitutional issues, this seems to me… […]

  68. 68
    Tonal Crow says:

    The bigger issue here is that we have lost sight of the principles of Liberty. We have adopted a "there ought’a be a law" attitude toward everything that annoys, disgusts, or frightens us, and our politicians gladly have accommodated us by enacting bookshelves-worth of penalties [1]. And we cheer them on for being "tough on crime", only to scream like stuck pigs when one of those "tough" statutes bites us in the ass (look up "Henry Hyde" and "forfeiture" for an example). We have no sense of empathy, nor of unintended consequences. We have become dumb and proud of it (see, e.g., Bush), envious and blind to it (see, e.g., religionists who can’t get it up crusading against gay men, whom they view as getting all they want all the time), and vengeful and aroused by it (one word: "24") We have come to view government as able to, and justified in, doing anything we ask, principles be damned. And we have come to view the Constitution as a "technicality".

    Until we come to understand that everyone else’s Liberty is our Liberty, and vice versa, we will continue our march toward the intersection of Authoritarian Boulevard, Wingnut Terrace, and Hate Alley.

    [1] For the latest (though hardly the most invasive) example of this idiocy, see where the Senate passed Feinstein’s bill making it a federal crime to sell inauguration tickets.

  69. 69
    Catsy says:

    Let’s face it – stoned parents are shitty parents.

    No, let’s not face any bullshit of the sort. In fact, let’s set the record straight here. Irresponsibly stoned parents are shitty parents, just as if they were irresponsibly drunk or irresponsibly lazy. Responsible stoners are are damn sight better at parenting than a lot of sober folk I know, and a hell of a lot less likely to go haring off and beating the shit out of their kidlet.

    I don’t doubt that in your job you saw a number of people’s lives fucked up by drugs, but what you’re failing to keep in mind is the selection bias inherent in your job experiences. I mean, shitfire, you were a corrections officer. Do you honestly think you were exposed to a representative demographic sample of recreational drug users, or is it considerably more likely that the people being steered your way were, largely and by definition, the people who fucked it up?

    Think outside the boundaries of your own circle of experience, people. A hell of a lot more folks smoke pot than you can possibly imagine. That you aren’t aware of it doesn’t mean that all stoners are fuckups, it means that most of them are responsible enough about it that you don’t have a clue who really is.

  70. 70
    Rick Massimo says:

    “I do not think it was unreasonable for school officials, acting in good faith, to conduct the search in an effort to obviate a potential threat to the health and safety of their students.”

    A threat is a potential harm. A potential threat means "you could IMAGINE some circumstances where this COULD hurt someone.

    Everything but maybe a NERF ball is a "potential threat." It’s a catch-all term for "because I said so."

  71. 71
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Rick Massimo:
    Exactly. This language of official "good faith" and "potential threat to…health and safety" is the modern language of the ancient tyrant. It "justifies" any and every circumscription of Liberty, reducing the Individual to but a thrall at the State’s pleasure. Our future will be dark indeed if we do not soon turn from this path.

  72. 72
    Mnemosyne says:

    The thing that I thought was most fucked up about this, and I guess it’s just a personal thing, is that sometimes, as a 13 year old girl, you fucking need prescription IB profin.

    That’s exactly what I was thinking. There’s nothing worse as a 13-year-old girl than having to try and tell an authority figure that you’re in massive pain from something as embarrassing as your period. If I’d been going to school somewhere that they monitored my fucking IBUPROFEN intake, I’d probably have tried to get it from my friends, too.

    But, hey, they’re only girls with "female" problems, so it can’t be real pain, right? They should just suck it up and deal with it.

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  2. […] Court, continued Filed under: Education, Personal Rights — Luke @ 6:05 pm John Cole weighs in: While James and the Supreme Court are focusing on worthwhile Constitutional issues, this seems to […]

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