The next day, a school administrator began gathering information about the incident by interviewing M and two other students, A and B. M informed the administrator that EDJ had been making fun of her for not making the volleyball team. A and B confirmed the story and informed the administrator that EDJ had been sending them text messages about M as well.
The administrator then informed the principal of the situation. The administrator then interviewed EDJ in the presence of the principal. EDJ denied talking about M. EDJ then claimed the administrator told her to unlock her phone and give it to him to look through her text messages to other students.
EDJ did not give the administrator permission to search the phone. The District Court found that the administrators were entitled to qualified immunity for the federal law claims. The administrators searched the cell phones in belief she was sending negative messages about M to other students. This belief was based on information provided by other student interviews. And because the conduct alleged constituted harassment under school policy, the Court determined that the administrators had reasonable grounds to search the cell phone.
The Court also acknowledged Riley v.
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It determined that while in Riley , the Supreme Court established that officers may no categorically conduct searches of information stored on cell phones, the Court already established in T. The Court further emphasized that T. The Court recognized the development of technology, but emphasized that such development still fit within the T.
Jackson v. As an expert on constitutional privacy rights, including student privacy, EPIC is uniquely qualified to support the argument that students do not lose a reasonable expectation of privacy at the schoolhouse gate. EPIC frequently files amicus briefs in state and federal courts on important Fourth Amendment issues related to technologies. EPIC also filed an amicus brief in Riley v. California , concerning the constitutionality of a warrantless cell phone search incident to arrest. EPIC also works to protect student privacy outside of the amicus context.
EPIC has proposed a Student Privacy Bill of Rights to safeguard student data and security, obtained documents regarding the misuse of education records through the Freedom of Information Act, and sued the Department of Education regarding changes in an agency regulation that diminished the safeguards set out in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal student privacy law. Share this page:. Defend Privacy.
Donate Now. Jackson et al. McCurry et al. Whether school administrators may access and search the contents of a student's cell phone without consent. The principles promote student safety measures that are evidence-based and oppose the surveillance-based measures that have been proposed in many states. McCurry , stating that teachers may not search a student's cell phone unless they have followed an explicit school policy that complies with Fourth Amendment requirements.
The Eleventh Circuit has issued a decision in Jackson v. A student's family filed the case after school officials searched her cell phone without probable cause.
Joel Moskowitz PhD
The appeals court ruled against the the student because the law limiting searches of student cell phones was not "clearly established. EPIC wrote that "most teenagers today could not survive without a cellphone. Citing a recent Supreme Court opinion, EPIC explained, "after Riley, searches of students' cell phones require heightened privacy protections. California , arguing that the search of a cellphone requires a warrant, and Commonwealth v. White , a case before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, arguing that a warrant is required before a school may turn over a student's cell phone to the police.
Both cases produced favorable outcomes. EPIC explained that privacy enhancing technologies are necessary to protect student data, because even where data has been de-identified it may still possible to extract personal data. EPIC also testified before the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, and recommended innovative privacy techniques to protect personal data that also enable informed public policy decisions.
The GAO found that FSA has failed to hold schools accountable for their lax data security practices that have resulted in numerous data breaches, and has not assessed the privacy risks for its own electronic records system. FSA collects personal information on students and their families to evaluate schools that receive federal student aid. That philosophy jibes with recommendations from Common Sense Media, a nonprofit based in San Francisco that focuses on children, technology, and media.
The Basic Rules for School Searches
In an April survey, Common Sense found that 80 percent of schools implement some kind of cellphone policy. About a quarter of teachers find cellphone policies difficult to follow, while roughly two-thirds find them easy to follow, according to the survey. High school teachers were more likely to report that implementing cellphone policies was difficult. Educators should "have a plan, not a ban," said Elizabeth Kline, the organization's vice president for education.
Cellphones can be an important teaching tool, Kline pointed out. Kids can create their own videos using cellphones, and teachers can integrate special apps for understanding concepts or investigating questions. There's also a big equity issue, she said. Some students may not have laptops—or even internet connectivity—at home. So their cellphones may be the only way they can complete some technology-focused assignments. And educators need to make sure they model those behaviors, which means not checking their own text messages during class, she said.
Kline emphasized that by absolutely prohibiting cellphones, districts could miss out on an opportunity to teach their students how to use the devices responsibly and in moderation. Both extremes are missing the point.
New York State School Boards Association
Cellphones must stay in lockers all day at the middle school and are not allowed in elementary schools. But at the high school level, students are allowed to have phones in class, under limited circumstances. The teacher sets a color—red, for no phones allowed; yellow, which signifies that phones can be out if the class isn't moving forward with new content; and green, which is typically used when the devices are part of a lesson.
To be sure, the district, like most in the country, still sees its share of problems stemming from cellphones, including a lunchroom of students texting each other instead of engaging in conversation. But the distict also wants to instill social-media lessons, including showing students how to be careful about what they tweet out or share on social media. Back to Top. Email Password.
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