Strip searches makes student question court ruling

By Lindsay Mathieson
Port Hardy Secondary School
Port Hardy, British Columbia

The new ruling that the Supreme Court of Canada has made affects students in many ways. As a student, when I heard about the ruling I was quite pleased with it. Youth are often so protected by the law that criminal acts are committed without any repercussions. I believed that this new
ruling would make schools safer from dangerous weapons, as well as making schools more drug-free.

With this in mind, I strongly supported the ruling because I figured that the only ones affected would be people who actually had some part in a criminal act. But when I heard of the way that this ruling was being misused, I definitely changed my opinion.

 An incident involving young boys being "strip searched" brought new light to my interpretation of the ruling. I had first thought that the ruling would be effective because the people enforcing it would be mature enough to handle the situation. I never thought that teachers and administrators would go as far as telling young boys to take off their clothes in order to recover some stolen money. Not only is this extremely unethical, but I'm positive that it was also very traumatic for the boys.

This was a definite misuse of the new law, and I hope that there have been consequences for these acts. For this ruling to work efficiently, I think that there must be certain revisions that must be put in place.

Before the use of this new law becomes entirely out of control, specific boundaries must be made. For instance, teachers now have the right to search lockers, backpacks and persons, if they have reason to believe that the persons are guilty. This does not mean that if some money goes
missing, teachers then search everyone in the class. That would be like if something went missing from a department store, and everyone had to be "strip searched" before they were allowed to leave.

Students also need to be informed of this ruling so that they know what to expect, and perhaps
this alone will be enough to cause a decrease in problems at school. We also have to remember that some teachers and administrators simply can't handle having this much power, and they forget that with power comes responsibility.

I think that before this ruling causes chaos and many lawsuits, the Supreme Court should sit down and take another look at revising this law.


 Back to Current Issue