2010] COMMENT 271
of its attainment, and the pressures placed upon school officials to
overcome these obstacles. With these factors in mind, examples of
student strip searches and research regarding their harmful
psychological effects provide an understanding of the context
within which these searches occur.
A. America’s Most Important Function
Educating America‘s youth is a national imperative.
out this pervasively important task, public school officials must be
empowered to maintain order and discipline in their schools.
Justice Powell of the United States Supreme Court recognized this
need, writing that ―[t]he primary duty of school officials and
teachers . . . is the education and training of young people.‖
continued: ―A State has a compelling interest in assuring that the
schools meet this responsibility. Without first establishing
discipline and maintaining order, teachers cannot begin to educate
In recent years, however, a school official‘s
ability to maintain discipline and order has been significantly
hampered by almost insurmountable obstacles—drug use,
violence, and theft.
The prevalence of these obstacles is well documented and
poses a significant threat to the educational experiences of students
throughout the nation.
Because drug use, violence, and theft
. Brown v. Bd. of Educ. of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483, 493 (1954) (―Today,
education is perhaps the most important function of state and local
. Educa tion, THE WHITE HOUSE, http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/
education/ (last visited Feb. 5, 2010).
. ROBERT WHEELER LANE, BEYOND THE SCHOOLHOUSE GATE 7 (1995).
. New Jer sey v. T.L.O., 469 U. S. 325, 350 (1985) (Powell, J.,
concurring). Louisiana law also recognizes this ―compelling interest,‖ declaring
that ―[e]very teacher is authorized to hold every pupil to a strict accountability
for an y disor derly conduct in school o r on the playground of the scho ol.‖ LA.
REV. STAT. ANN. § 17:223(A) (2001).
. T.L.O., 469 U.S. at 350 (Powell, J., concurring).
. See, e.g., NAT‘L CTR. FOR ADDICTION & SUBSTANCE ABUSE AT
COLUMBIA UNIV., NATIONAL SURVEY OF AMERICAN ATTITUDES ON SUBSTANCE
ABUSE XII: TEENS AND PARENTS (2007), a va ilable at http://www.casacolumbia.
org/download.aspx?path=/UploadedFiles/vilf5lvw.pdf. In 2007, 80% of high
school students and 44% of middle school students personally witnessed drug
dealing, use, or possession. Id. at 1. Not surprisingly, students in these drug-
infested schools were more likely to use drugs themselves. Id. at 1–2; see also,
e.g., NAT‘L CTR. FOR EDUC. STATISTICS, INDICATORS OF SCHOOL CRIME AND
SAFETY: 2008 (2008), available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009022
REV.pdf. In the 2005–2006 school year, violent crimes occurred in 78% of
public schools. Id. at 20. In 2007, 6% of students in grades 9 through 12