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But It’s Our Policy!

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Looking into the latest case of petty-dictator school administrators ordering an arbitrary strip search of young women [via], I saw from one of the petty dictators in question:

Dan Crozier, the interim superintendent of the Atlantic school district, said the search took place Aug. 21, the third day of school, during a gym class in the last period of the day.

Crozier said faculty members denied it was a strip-search. “According to our board policy, it was an allowable search,” he said.

Well, if it’s policy, who cares about the Fourth Amendment or basic human dignity anyway? But wait:

State education officials said the law is clear — school officials cannot force students to disrobe to search for contraband.

“There’s an absolute prohibition on strip-searches in Iowa,” said Carol Greta, legal counsel for the Iowa Department of Education, who was speaking in general and not referring to the Atlantic case. “It’s an absolute no-no.”

Statute, shmatute — it was our policy! I guess the argument here — which you may remember from Michael Hawkins’s disgraceful 9CA dissent in the Redding case — involves quibbles over whether requiring students to only mostly disrobe constitutes a “strip search.” Anyway, the settlement would seem to indicate that the districts lawyers didn’t think this nonsense would fly, which is a good thing.   But if administrators are willing to do this stuff even in a state where state law clearly prohibits it, one can only imagine what happens in states where it isn’t.    Redding was a good first step, but as a narrow opinion focused on an extreme set of facts it didn’t go nearly far enough.

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