Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In the Wake of Bush

The myopic lunacy and inexcusable inhumanity of the Bush policies continue to bob up in intellectual dead pools all over America.

In education, this blog documented, in no uncertain terms, the rabid psycho-religious zealotry that was applied to educational practice with an all-too compliant establishment blessing.

Today's New York Times article, Strip-Search of Girl Tests Limit of School Policy by Adam Liptak documents the eventual dead cat's bounce of one such fiasco - the zero tolerance paradigm.
Adam B. Wolf, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Ms. Redding, said her experience was “the worst nightmare for any parent.”

“When you send your child off to school every day, you expect them to be in math class or in the choir,” Mr. Wolf said. “You never imagine their being forced to strip naked and expose their genitalia and breasts to their school officials.”

In a sworn statement submitted in the case, Safford Unified School District v. Redding, No. 08-479, Mr. Wilson said he had good reason to suspect Ms. Redding. She and other students had been unusually rowdy at a school dance a couple of months before, and members of the school staff thought they had smelled alcohol. A student also accused Ms. Redding of having served alcohol at a party before the dance, Mr. Wilson said.

Ms. Redding said she had served only soda at the party, adding that her accuser was not there. At the dance, she said, school administrators had confused adolescent rambunctiousness with inebriation. “We’re kids,” she said. “We’re goofy.”

The search was conducted by Peggy Schwallier, the school nurse, and Helen Romero, a secretary. Ms. Redding “never appeared apprehensive or embarrassed,” Ms. Schwallier said in a sworn statement. Ms. Redding said she had kept her head down so the women could not see that she was about to cry.

Ms. Redding said she was never asked if she had pills with her before she was searched. Mr. Wolf, her lawyer, said that was unsurprising.

“They strip-search first and ask questions later,” Mr. Wolf said of school officials here.

Ms. Redding did not return to school for months after the search, studying at home. “I never wanted to see the secretary or the nurse ever again,” she said.

In the end, she transferred to another school. The experience left her wary, nervous and distrustful, she said, and she developed stomach ulcers. She is now studying psychology at Eastern Arizona College and hopes to become a counselor.
There is a claim in the arguments being made that "reasonable people can disagree" about such methods. I beg to differ. The Supreme Court needs to unequivocally reject the notion that anything goes in the pursuit of uncovering imaginary crimes in educational settings.

Kids have rights of speech, person, privacy, and an excuse for behavior that is not mainstream and that is that these are kids who are not fully formed in body, mind, or soul. That does not make them criminals except in the minds of deranged politicians and their eager lackeys who make careers out of getting ever-so-tough with anyone except their own special interest groups.

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