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.