ACLU of Louisiana Statement on Caldwell Student Strip Searches
NEW ORLEANS — The ACLU of Louisiana has learned the students at Caldwell Parish High School were illegally strip-searched yesterday after school officials were told that one student complained that some money was missing. This invasion of the privacy and due process rights of students directly violates clear precedent by the United States Supreme Court. Strip searches by school officials are generally regarded as so intrusive that they cannot be legally justified. When an assistant principal strip-searched a high school student he suspected of hiding prescription pain relievers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled his search of that student to be a violation of her rights. Safford Unified School Dist. No. 1 v. Redding 557 U.S. 364 (2009).
“Students have the right to privacy and dignity in school,” said Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana. “The law protects students from the indignity of generalized strip searches. No student should fear that school officials will violate their most private autonomy without specific, individualized suspicion. The officials of Caldwell Parish High School owe all students an apology and must commit to upholding the law, particularly the Constitutional rights of their students.”
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