Thursday, April 23, 2009

Panty-Sniffing, Opus Dei SCOTUS Joneses For Pubescent Girls' Underpants

This case and the SCROTUS responses to it are sooooo fucking sick and twisted. When I was in high-school, the chemistry teacher, a Christian Brother, used to hang around the restrooms, claiming he could detect illicit drug/alcohol use in the scent of the boys' urine. Apparently the charms of underwear sniffing are not lost on a significant and probably determinative number of members of the Court (you'd figger Clarence "Pubes" Thomas would be all over it, right?). Gary Farber, at Amygdala, reports:
This is entirely disgusting and outrageous.

The sainted Dahlia Lithwick reports:
[...] After today's argument, it's plain the court will overturn a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion finding a school's decision to strip-search a 13-year-old girl unconstitutional. That the school in question was looking for a prescription pill with the mind-altering force of a pair of Advil—and couldn't be bothered to call the child's mother first—hardly matters. [...]

And even if you were never a 13-year-old girl yourself, if you have a daughter or niece, you might see the humiliation in pulling a middle-school honor student with no history of disciplinary problems out of class, based on an uncorroborated tip that she was handing out prescription ibuprofen. You might think it traumatic that she was forced to strip down to her underclothes and pull her bra and underwear out and shake them in front of two female school employees. No drugs were found. [...]

Yet in recent years, the high court has slowly chipped away at the privacy rights of students—frequently based on the rationale that there were drugs!!! Somewhere in America!!! Drugs!!! Creating danger!!! (This led an annoyed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to dissent in a recent case that the court was peddling "nightmarish images of out-of-control flatware, livestock run amok, and colliding tubas" to justify drug tests for any student with a pulse. )
This is entirely in accord with the purposes of schooling (inculcating the spirit of unquestioning obedience, the reflex of unthinking compliance, and a dull ennui at the prospect of learning). In the "Tinker" case, in the '60s, Justice Abe Fortas remarked in his opinion that "freedom does not end at the school-house door." This noble sentiment has undergone significant reductions in the intervening 40 or so years, as the Courts have eroded students' rights, and amplified the totalitarian spirit of "Schooling" as it marched in lock-step with the "it's-ALL-"Abuse" crowd of censorious pricks prosecuting the War on Drugs for fun and profit. Blogger Farber gets it:
There are few things that have ever damaged America more than The War On Some Drugs.

Alcohol prohibition brought us the Mafia, gang wars, widespread disregard for the law, poison distributed as alcohol, and, oh, look, the War On Some Drugs has hurt us even more, warping our foreign policy, damaging our relations with the peoples of numerous countries around the world, empowering criminality of a scale and power the world has never seen, pointlessly criminalizing imprisoning, and ruining the lives of a huge proportion of of our population, including a wildly disproportionate percentage of the darker-skinned portion of the citizenry.

But thank goodness we're strip-searching children to keep them from dangerous over-the-counter analgesics.

Lithwick's apt concluding point:
[...] On the courthouse steps after argument today, Redding is asked what she'd have wanted the school to do differently. "Call my mom first," she says. You see, we now have school districts all around the country finding naked photos of teens and immediately calling in the police for possession of kiddie porn. Yet schools see nothing wrong with stripping these same kids naked to search for drugs. Evidently teenage nakedness is only a problem when the children choose to be naked. And the parents? They are always the last to know.

Keeping always in mind that schooling is not 'education,' strictu sensu, but an institution devoted to warehousing potential job competitors and for training them in the arts of corpoRat sycophancy--that is, knowing their place.


P M Prescott said...

Why wasn't anything done to the student who lied? Asshole administrators don't have a clue about discipline.

A World Quite Mad said...

Public school was a waste of time. You don't learn anything. All it was was a popularity contest, that and you learn how to follow orders so you'll make a better fast food worker. The teachers don't give a rats ass about bullying. They don't care, they never have. When I was in elementary school in the 80's a boy kicked me in the stomach in front of a teacher. The teacher didn't do anything. Didn't say a word to the boy. That was when I realized that the teachers didn't give a damn about me.

I have learned more on my own time since I graduated high school than I learned in the entire time I was in public school. I remember being eighteen years old my senior year of high school and still having to raise my hand to ask for permission to go use the bathroom. I think they treat children like inmates, it's like a prison system or something.

College now, that's a totally different matter. I was amazed at how fun learning could be, and how you could actually like school. If we ever have children, we will not be sending them to public school. My husband was homeschooled, and we'd do the same. All public school does is break your spirit, and make you doubt yourself.