OCTOBER TERM, 2008
NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
SAFFORD UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT #1 ET AL. v.
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
THE NINTH CIRCUIT
No. 08–479. Argued April 21, 2009—Decided June 25, 2009
After escorting 13-year-old Savana Redding from her middle school
classroom to his office, Assistant Principal Wilson showed her a day
planner containing knives and other contraband. She admitted own-
ing the planner, but said that she had lent it to her friend Marissa
and that the contraband was not hers. He then produced four pre-
scription-strength, and one over-the-counter, pain relief pills, all of
which are banned under school rules without advance permission.
She denied knowledge of them, but Wilson said that he had a report
that she was giving pills to fellow students. She denied it and agreed
to let him search her belongings. He and Helen Romero, an adminis-
trative assistant, searched Savana’s backpack, finding nothing. Wil-
son then had Romero take Savana to the school nurse’s office to
search her clothes for pills. After Romero and the nurse, Peggy
Schwallier, had Savana remove her outer clothing, they told her to
pull her bra out and shake it, and to pull out the elastic on her un-
derpants, thus exposing her breasts and pelvic area to some degree.
No pills were found. Savana’s mother filed suit against petitioner
school district (Safford), Wilson, Romero, and Schwallier, alleging
that the strip search violated Savana’s Fourth Amendment rights.
Claiming qualified immunity, the individuals (hereinafter petition-
ers) moved for summary judgment. The