School administrators face tough challenges in their jobs. They are given the mandate to ensure that they teach students to behave in an appropriate manner. They are the ones to instil discipline and morals to students who behave contrary to the set norms and laws through punishment. When everything goes well, parents and media have no concern over actions of school administrators. However, in their quest to instil discipline and morals to students, administrators may use ways that may raise eyebrows and invoke criticism. Parents and the media actively criticize administrators’ actions without appreciating their efforts of correcting children who break norms and laws. School administrators have developed zero tolerance policies towards violence and drugs in schools. They use several ways to ensure that this law is not broken.
In one of the famous cases of Zero Tolerance, Safford Middle School officials performed a strip search on Savannah Redding who was a student in this school at that time. This search was performed because of unsubstantiated allegations that she could be having the anti-inflammatory drug Advil in her possession. This action raised a lot of criticism from the media as well as Redding’s parents. The school officials were condemned of breaking the Fourth Amendment of the constitution which ensures that people are secured in their persons, houses, papers and effects are not violated by people using unreasonable searches and seizures. In my opinion, the school administrators’ actions were not appropriate to enforce Zero Tolerance effectively. This is because they resorted to a strip search before engaging dialogue and obtaining Redding’s permission to conduct it. They acted so at a cost that was unnecessary. However, I agree with the fact that the scope of the Fourth Amendment was not well established at the time the action was performed. Therefore, the school administration was doing it at goodwill to ensure safety of their students.
In connection to Ms. Redding’s case, this lawsuit will probably make it difficult for administrators to enforce discipline in their schools. This is because some of their ways of instilling punishment and conducting searches will be hindered by the law, and they would also be afraid to have monetary fines applied to them. Parents and students will seek lawsuits in order to receive fines imposed on school districts, in case school administrators are found to have exceeded their limits. This will result to increased cases of violation by students and hence failure of the Zero Tolerance policy by these institutions. The constitution should define the scope of its laws so that conflicting actions may not result. However, in this case, the action of the administration officials cannot be justified since they relied on an unqualified source of information before carrying out their strip search.
New policies should be developed in order to assist administrators respond to cases like that of Savannah Redding. The policy will guide administrators to seek legal advice from qualified legal advisors before taking actions that may be against the law. The policy will also guide administrators to resort to counselling as a way of dealing with issues of suspicion rather than implementing physical punishment. School administrators should look for a way of ensuring that the constitution protects them in the way they dispense their functions, especially how they discipline their students. The policy document will also define step by step instructions on how to conduct searches, including strip search, when need arises. Therefore, parents, students and the administration must work collaboratively in order to ensure that discipline is carried out in a way that does not cause misunderstandings.
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