Strip Searches In New York Schools | Zero Tolerance in the NYC school system |

Are Strip Searches Allowed in New York Schools?

Increasing violence and other illegal activity occurring in our schools has seen the proliferation of “ZERO TOLERANCE” policies in many New York schools and in entire school districts around our nation. These policies, of necessity, very often involve the search of a student by New York school officials who seek to find out if the prohibited item, whether a weapon or an illegal drug, is in the student’s possession.

The question arises as to when such a search is permissible and, even more seriously, how intrusive may that search become. In June, 2009, the United States Supreme Court decided a case involving a 13 year old school girl (Susan). Another student had accused Susan of giving her drugs. The suspicion was that Susan had brought prescription strength ibuprofen to school. School officials (two females) ordered Susan to strip to her underwear, and then pull her upper and lower undergarments away from her body to see if the suspected drug was on Susan’s person. The judge that wrote the opinion for the court called this search an “…embarrassing, frightening and humiliating search…..” The decision of the Court did not give school officials a clear cut guideline to determine if a strip search is permissible. It rather set forth some guidelines that may well continue to make it very difficult for school officials in the future to decide whether or not a strip search would run afoul of the law. The guidelines the Court seemed to establish as factors:
–the extent of the danger of the contraband in question (for example: ibuprofen vs. heroin);
–how well founded is the suspicion that the contraband is hidden in an intimate place.

As Justice Souter wrote in deciding that this particular search was Constitutionally ILLEGAL:: “The content of the suspicion failed to match the degree of the intrusion” especially in light of the “nature and limited threat of the specific drugs.”Some school districts, such as the New York City Department of Education, simplify matters and ban such strip searches under any and all circumstances. Do keep in mind that as far as searches in general (not just strip searches) are concerned, the Constitutional requirements to allow a search by school officials (“a moderate chance of finding evidence of wrongdoing”) are LESS demanding than those that must be followed by the police (“Probable Cause”). Even an attempt to simplify this area of law, as we tried to do here, indicates the potential complexity involved when dealing with searches of all kinds. The services of a well seasoned New York City attorney, knowledgeable through experience in this difficult area of law, at as early a stage as possible, is invaluable in protecting your rights.


Foster Care Abuse

It is a sad fact that so many of the children in the foster care system are victims of physical and sexual abuse.  Children who are in the foster care system are there in the first place because they either have no parents, or their natural parents have failed them.  These children are probably the most vulnerable members of our society and in the greatest need of our care and protection. It is, therefore, that much more of a tragedy when such a child is abused in a foster home.  The government places the responsibility of caring for these children in the hands of the Foster Care Agencies.  The Foster Care Agency then finds an appropriate foster home for the child and places them there to live temporarily, until the child can move on; either moving back with the natural parent, getting adopted, etc. It is the responsibility of the Foster Care Agency to make sure the home the child is placed in is suitable and safe, and that the foster parents are people who will treat the children appropriately.  It is also the responsibility of the Foster Care Agency to closely monitor the children while they remain in the foster home.  This is no easy task, but it is crucial for the wellbeing of the foster child. After all, if there is something improper going on in the home there is nobody else in the world who that child can turn to for help; there is no one else who is responsible for that child other than the Foster Care Agency.  Once the abuse does take place, of course the effects of that abuse usually stay with the victim for a lifetime. For any person who was the victim of abuse in a foster home, even if the abuse took place many years ago, it is important to contact an attorney who represents abuse victims and can investigate whether the Foster Care Agency conducted a proper placement in the home and properly supervised the parents and the child while in the home.

Statements by Adam Orlow, Esq. as quoted in “Suite 101 On-line Magazine:
Abuse in foster homes is a serious problem. Adam Orlow, Esq., is a New York City attorney who has almost five years of experience helping former foster children seek compensation. He passionately believes that when children are placed into care, they need a foster home that is adequate and safe. He says that the screening process for foster parents must be tighter.

Adam Orlow further stated, “Case workers need greater supervision, preferably by an independent body.” He also recommends that in addition to closely monitoring the case workers, having the workers conduct unscheduled visits to foster homes is essential. Orlow adds, “Too many times there is a lack of supervision.” Read more…

Posted by New York Personal Injury Attorney Adam Orlow