Searching students’ cell phones

Oct 22, 2010, 2:58 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

The Oak Harbor School District has backed away from its plan to let administrators search students’ cell phones for any reason.

The original policy, first proposed in August, said that by bringing cell phones to school, students were automatically giving consent to have their devices searched.

studenttextingParents and students didn’t like that, and neither did the American Civil Liberties Union. The district has now agreed they can’t randomly search phones and check out kids’ text messages unless they have a good reason. They approved a revised cell phone policy at their last meeting.

“The search by an administrator must be very narrowly focused on the violation the student is accused of,” says Doug Honig with the Seattle ACLU. “In other words, not just a fishing expedition into what might be on the student’s cell phone.”

A related issue – do schools have the right to check up on what your kids are doing on Facebook when they’re not on campus?

The short answer is yes.

The Seattle School District changed its student rights handbook this year to make it clear that administrators will monitor off campus speech, if it has a negative impact on the school day.

ACLU attorneys have been studying the Seattle policy and they’ve concluded it is legal and in line with what other school districts around the nation are doing.

“That said, we don’t think it’s the business of school officials to be poking around on what students are saying off campus just for the possibility that they might run across something, that really intrudes on students’ privacy rights,” Honig says.

While the policy itself isn’t a problem, how it’s enforced and the way students are disciplined for off campus speech might be a concern.

“We’ve seen at various places around the country where school officials have gotten involved with situations where students were saying things that were very critical of the school,” he says. “That’s not appropriate.”

So far there have been no problems with Seattle Schools policy.

The News Chick Blog

The wife of Seattle attorney Danford Grant moved his car away from one of the alleged crime scenes ...
No Author

Equal justice for Seattle lawyer accused of several rapes?

Has accused serial rapist Danford Grant gotten preferential treatment because both he and his wife are Seattle attorneys?
10 years ago
The Seattle-based I Can Has Cheezburger network now includes 60 humor sites. Many of their 90 emplo...
No Author

Seattle humor network, built with funny cat pictures, becomes a reality TV show

A small Internet empire with a funny name has billions of page views on its network of 60 humor websites based in Seattle. Now, I Can Has Cheezburger has a reality TV show too.
10 years ago
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent a combined $30.33 every second this election cycle. Wa...
No Author

Democracy and dollar signs – 2012 campaign spending

Washington initiative campaigns spent $34 million trying to win your vote, while President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent a combined $30.33 every second this election cycle.
10 years ago
Chef Tom Douglas says Seattle’s restaurants are ‘a little homemade’ compared with...
No Author

Chef Tom Douglas says ‘Seattle is a funny restaurant town’

Chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas, with 13 Seattle restaurants and more on the way, says Seattle is a "funny restaurant town."
10 years ago
Investigation continues into why a commander of the Bremerton-based Stennis carrier group was remov...
No Author

New ‘crazy’ conspiracy theory on Stennis Rear Admiral

The Pentagon shoots down theories about why the commander of the USS Stennis Carrier Group was removed from duty and sent back to the homeport in Bremerton.
10 years ago
Seattle photographer Paul Souders captures an adult polar bear up close in Hudson Bay in Churchill,...
No Author

Seattle photographer comes face to face with a polar bear

A wildlife photographer, who lives in Ballard, has taken thousands of stunning shots. None put him on "a razor's edge" more than a series of photos swimming with a polar bear.
10 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Searching students’ cell phones