Medical abuse?–Torture and strip searches

While not as egregious, the school nurse supervised strip search of a 13 year old school girl has parallels in the torture of suspected terrorists.

The CIA medical staff:

“monitored prisoners undergoing water boarding, apparently to make sure they did not drown. Medical workers were also present when guards confined prisoners in small boxes, shackled their arms to the ceiling, kept them in frigid cells and slammed them repeatedly into walls, the report said.”

“Facilitating such practices, which the Red Cross described as torture, was a violation of medical ethics even if the medical workers’ intentions had been to prevent death or permanent injury, the report said. But it found that the medical professionals’ role was primarily to support the interrogators, not to protect the prisoners, and that the professionals had “condoned and participated in ill treatment.”

The Arizona school’s behavior is similar to the CIA’s in intent and misuse of medical staff. It raises questions both for what is allowable in the context of a school situation and how the medical profession can be used to facilitate such actions. First strip searching a 13 year old without the permission and/or presence of a parent is untenable. Using medical staff undermines the original functions of that staff in the school setting.

“Vice Principal Wilson removed her from class and brought her to his office. She gave permission for a search of her backpack, which turned up nothing.”

So far so good, appropriate use of the principal’s authority.

“Then Wilson told her to go to the nurse’s office with two female staffers. They told her to remove her socks and shoes, her stretch pants and pink T-shirt. They told her to move her bra from side to side, which exposed her breasts, and pull out the waistband of her underwear.”

In my view this is inappropriate use of the school’s authority and the medical staff. It eerily parallels the use of CIA staff to “to support the interrogators, not to protect the prisoners, and that the professionals had “condoned and participated in ill treatment.”

It’s amazing and a bit revealing that such a case would get to the Supreme Court without a resounding rejection of the use of a strip search. Any reasonable person, and that might even include a judge, should be offended by the school official’s behavior (and the CIA’s).

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