13.School Strip Search( the U.S.)

Japanese version is here.

   A case of school strip search in the U.S. is reported on the WWW. Source:By Aaron Epxtein:
  Lexington Herald-Leader,  WASHINGTON: AP, Johnson Rd/Leader, TX. A Reuter report, By
  James Vicini:PressReleases
   I think these are useful for Japanese teachers, so I will summarize them briefly and at the end
  of it I will add some comments of mine. They are somewhat useful for non-Japanese teachers to
  understand educational problems in Japan,too.

1. Outline of the case

   The case began May 1.1992, Two Alabama girls were forced to submit to strip searches after
  a second-grade classmate accused them of stealing $ 7 and putting it in the backpack of the
  other girl. No money was found.

   The two girls were taken to a restroom and told by music teacher to remove their clothes.
  They were told to come out of the toilet stalls with their underpants down to their ankles, which
  they did. A second strip-search of each girl was conducted a short time later,but no money was

   The School Board investigated the incidents and concluded that the girls not been strip-searched.
  The parents of the two girls sued, but a federal lower court dismissed the lawsuit, and a appeal court
  upheld the decision, ruling that the teachers enjoyed partial immunity from the constitutioal claim,
  and also concluded strip searches would not have been clearly unconstitutional in 1992. By an 8 : 3

   The appeals court took into accout the Supreme Court's 1985 ruling, such searches must be "
  reasonably related in scope to the circumstances " which justified the interference in the first place,
  and said school administrators have greater flexibility to search students, but added that the search
  cannot be " excessive intrusive."

    The School Board acknowledged that the music teacher had committed a " gross error " in judgment,
   but found insufficient evidence and rejected the superintendent's recommendation that the music
   teacher be fired.

2. Comments ( By Shoji Sugita )

   I will agree with the Supreme Court's 1985 ruling, such searches must be "reasonably related in scope
  to the circumstances" which justified the interference, and cannot be "excessive instrusive."

   * A search by a public school official must be based on a reasonable suspicion, not on probable
   * The objects search must be logically tied to the purpose of the search. For instance, reasonable
    suspicion of possession of weapons or illegal drug ? stealing of property ? urgently needed ?
   Cited:In re Doe, 887 P 2d 645 ( Haw.1994 ),"Journal of Law & Education" Fall 1995, New Jersey v
   T.L.O.,469 U.S.325

   So,I wonder if the decision of this case was rightful or not, for this case occured when one of the
   student told the teacher that $ 7 had been taken from her purse. "Reasonable suspicion " was there ?
    And if such a incident occurred at Japanese schools, homeroom would explain the happening to all
   the students of his (her) class, and would check all their possessions; putting them on theie desks
   out of their pockets or so. and if some students refuse to do so, he (she) will conduct some others.

    Recently,Japanese have much discussion of school strip search, for incidents of using big knives are
   increasing here and there in Japan. And Japanese teachers usually say that they have to keep " Good
   relationship with teachers and students ", so it might be justified not to conduct school strip search at
  the least, but when there are reasonable suspicion at schools and they hesitate to conduct it, they will
  lose " Good relationship with teachers and students ",too.

   In fact, modern society is so stressful for most people, and many students are not so exceptional. So
  school shall be not only instructive, good moral and disciplinary place, but also should be easy, enjoyable
  and particulary, for the nferior students would be warmhearted.
   These two principals are sometimes in contradiction with each other, and it seems to be impossible,
  but you know, we were all raised in such an environment of " Discipline and Affection " of fathers and
  mothers, " Instruction and Tenderness " of grandfathers and grandmothers and "Social good moral and
  Alert watchfulness " of neighbors.
  Teachers are the same as them, and I do expect that school strip searches could be administered by
  them in such an educational environment.