A group of Albany Law School students have filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Safford v. Redding, a case challenging the constitutionality of strip searches by school officials in public schools. The oral arguments for the case are taking place in Washington, D.C., on April 21.
With guidance from Professor Raymond Brescia, the group of students is comprised of Umair Khan '09, Rob Magee '09, Ben Loefke '10, Meredith Perry '10, Matthew Rozea '10, and Erika Winkler '10. The students worked for more than two months in preparing their argument in support of Savana Redding, the 13-year-old honors student who was strip searched by school officials based on the uncorroborated tip of a fellow student on suspicion of possessing 400mg of ibuprofen.
The Albany Law students filed the brief on behalf of the Urban Justice Center, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Advocates for Children of New York, and the National Youth Rights Association. In their brief, the group surveyed the history of teacher-student relations and concluded that the search, viewed through either the reasonableness standard lens of the common law or under modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, was unconstitutional.
The group also compiled an extensive historical record, which included: teacher's manuals and case law from the nineteenth century, and writings by the early pioneers of America's education system. The group contends that the common law informs the Fourth Amendment analysis and that, based on their findings, the strip search of a thirteen year old girl, predicated on the statements of another student who, herself, had contraband on her person, was unreasonable and therefore unconstitutional.