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The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments a week from today in the case of a 13-year-old who was strip-searched by school officials who suspected she had brought ibuprofen to school.

Savana Redding was an eighth grader in Safford, Arizona in the fall of 2003. On October 8 of that year, an administrator discovered that one of Redding’s classmates had high-strength ibuprofen pills in her possession. (Ibuprofen is the active ingredient in the headache medicine Advil.) Under questioning, that student said she had gotten the pills from Redding.

Redding had no history of disciplinary problems, but school officials made no attempt to confirm the classmate’s story. Instead, they pulled Redding from class, and after a search of her bookbag turned up no pills, she was taken to the school nurse’s office. There she was told to strip to her underwear and pull her bra and underpants out from her body, exposing her breasts and pubic area.

No ibuprofen was found. 

An appeals court ruled last year that this search violated Redding’s constitutional rights, as well as “any known principle of human dignity.” The Supreme Court will rule on that question, as well as the issue of whether Redding has the right to sue the assistant principal who ordered the search.

Redding is now an undergraduate at Eastern Arizona College, majoring in psychology.

The students of the University of Arkansas voted this week to urge the U of A to adopt “sanctions for the possession and use of marijuana … no greater than those imposed by the University for the possession and use of alcohol.”

The university’s dean of students inserted himself into the referendum debate a week ago, sending a mass email to students arguing that “individuals choosing to possess and/or use marijuana merit different educational sanctions from those who violate the alcohol policy.” All of the candidates running for student government president and vice president endorsed the referendum, however, and it passed by a two-to-one margin.

Update: These referenda have been put on the ballot by NORML chapters at a bunch of campuses — one passed at Purdue just last week.

A high school student in Virginia’s Fairfax County has received a two-week suspension and a threat of expulsion … for taking her birth control pill at lunch.

Oakton High School considers bringing prescription drugs to school one of the most serious violations a student can commit — it brings a harsher punishment than use of heroin or LSD, and the same penalty as possession of a handgun on school property.

The student’s mother was aware of, and supportive of, her decision to go on the pill. Birth control pills are most effective if taken at the same time every day, and the student began taking them at lunch over the summer. Neither the student nor her mother was aware that the punishment for continuing to do so in the fall could be so severe.

The student faced a hearing before school officials on Thursday, and has yet to hear whether she will be expelled.

Thanks to Amplify Your Voice for the heads-up on this story.

August 5 update: Stephen Colbert ran a segment on the incident on Monday night’s Colbert Report.

The Miami Herald has a tantalizing article up on Guatemala’s Parade of Ridicule, a century-old student protest tradition that mixes political comment, satirical graffiti, drinking … and alleged masked extortion.

The Herald piece left me wanting to know more about this tradition, but a quick Google didn’t turn up any good English-language sources. Anyone have information to share?

Below are the lyrics to “Kim Il Sung,” a tribute to the North Korean dictator. The song was printed in the Weatherman Songbook in 1969, and was intended to be sung to the tune of “Maria” from West Side Story.

The most beautiful sound I ever heard
Kim Il Sung
The most beautiful sound in all the world
Kim Il Sung
Kim Il Sung, Kim Il Sung, Kim Il Sung
Kim Il Sung, Kim Il Sung, Kim Il Sung

Kim Il Sung
I’ve just met a Marxist-Leninist named Kim Il Sung
And suddenly his line
Seems so correct and fine
To me

Kim Il Sung
Say it soft and there’s rice fields flowing
Say it loud and there’s people’s war growing
Kim Il Sung
I’ll never stop saying Kim Il Sung

And surely now Korea
Will forever more be a
Socialist country

Say it sneaky and the Pueblo is taken
Say it bold and the imperialists are quakin’
I’ll never stop saying Korea

About This Blog

n7772graysmall is the work of Angus Johnston, a historian and advocate of American student organizing.

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