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Do schools have a right to take away and tamper with kids' cell phones?

Posted by on Dec. 3, 2013 at 8:31 AM
  • 80 Replies

Teachers Have No Right to Take Students' Cell Phones Away

by Jacqueline Burt

texting girlWhen we worry about the potential bullies our kids might deal with at school, we always picture those bullies as other kids ... right? Except sometimes -- probably more often than any of us care to realize, actually -- those bullies are adults: Teachers and other faculty members; the very people we trust to protect our kids from bullying. And usually, grown-up bullies push kids around not with mean text messages or actual physical shoves, but by abusing their authority. By taking things that don't belong to them and giving them back damaged or altered, if at all. Which is exactly what happened recently at one Oregon middle school.

It all started with a "confrontation" between one student who apparently refused to remove his hat in the school gym and two teachers who, well, were hell bent on getting him to remove that hat. 

As the "altercation" escalated, with the teachers "circling" the boy and "trying to escort him from the gym," other students nearby pulled out their cell phones and started filming, because, duh!! What else do you expect them to do under these circumstances?!

Anyway, the stubborn hat-wearer was eventually suspended and arrested for disorderly conduct, but this story isn't really about him. It's about those kids who filmed the whole mess -- only to be approached, moments later, by faculty members who confiscated their phones, saying only “I’m going to have to hold on to this for a while," by way of explanation. Except they didn't just "hold on" to the phones -- they deleted each and every video of the incident recorded by students. 13-year-old Khloey Summers says that by the time she got her phone back, her messaging apps and photos had also been opened. Khloey's mother, Melissa Siegel, is furious, as are several other parents. Says Siegel: “Clearly, I don’t feel like my daughter did anything wrong. I feel like her rights are violated, by going through her phone and text messages.” 

Siegel is right!! Her daughter's rights WERE violated!! And as the mother of a 12-year-old whose school has a habit of confiscating kids' cell phones -- kids' very expensive and also pretty goddamn useful in this modern life cell phones -- and then "misplacing" them for weeks at a time, this story REALLY PISSES ME OFF. Here's what I would like to say to the teachers at that Oregon middle school -- to any teacher who thinks it's okay to take away a kid's cell phone for an undetermined length of time, let alone tamper with it -- my KID didn't buy herself that frigging thing; I BOUGHT IT FOR HER! Obviously. So give it back ... to ME! Look, I understand taking away a kid's phone for the duration of a school day if it's truly a disruption, but you better return it  -- in the exact same condition -- the second the bell rings. 

Do you think schools have a right to take away and tamper with kids' cell phones?

by on Dec. 3, 2013 at 8:31 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mcginnisc
by Bronze Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 8:35 AM
8 moms liked this

Honestly, I don't think kids should have phones...therefore, I don't think they should have them in class. Period. I'm sorry, but I don't see any reason at all for a student to have their phone in class unless the teacher has them using it for classwork. 

I would fully expect my child's phone to be confiscated if it were found to be in their posession during school hours. I'm not too thrilled with the going into their phone part of the deal searching their messages and such though. I do feel like that is a violation of their privacy... if they didn't have their phone on their person, it would still be in their posession IMO. 

Claire


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 

mom23heathens
by Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 8:36 AM
1 mom liked this
No. I don't even agree with the policy of taking them when they are a distraction and then charging the parent to get it back. Its not a small toy that's easily replaced.
twicethemomjess
by on Dec. 3, 2013 at 8:37 AM
I said in another post but my principal took my phone in high school (I was using it in the newspaper room to do an interview) well he went thru my phone and called all my friends to see if he could catch them with their phones.
BL2010
by Silver Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 9:10 AM
1 mom liked this

Nope. They have no right doing any of what they did. What was wrong with the had the original kid was wearing that they wanted it removed?

Personally, I don't think kids should have phones in school and if they do they shouldn't be using them. You're in school to learn not to be playing on your phone, but that's not what they were doing, for which I am glad of. Those teachers need to be held accountable.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Dec. 3, 2013 at 10:16 AM
3 moms liked this
Yes, if schools have rules and they are broken hell yes. Our schools take them for good if a 3rd violation.
Kids should leave them in their locker if they are only to be used before or after school and at lunch.
The hat wearer should have just been suspended and be done with it. No confrontation. One chance to remove it or be suspended. Why do kids think rules do not apply to them?? Maybe because parents teach them to not respect authority.
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Dec. 3, 2013 at 10:18 AM
1 mom liked this
Mine did not have cell phones in middle school. They do not need them. Parents give 6 year olds phones.
amber3902
by Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 11:47 AM
2 moms liked this

Okay, first of all, kid #1 should have removed his hat.  You are not allowed to wear hats in school and he was in the wrong.  Teachers were not doing anyting wrong by trying to get him to remove his hat.  This isn't a case of police brutaility, this is a case of some kid who thinks the rules don't apply to him. 

Second, students should not have phones in school.  If they didn't have them, there would be nothing for the teachers to take away.

Three - the teachers have every right to take cell phones, walkmans, beepers, weapons, etc. and anything else that is a distraction to education.  BUUUUT said items should be put in a safe place in a centralized location, say the principle's office in a locked safe and either the items are returned to the student at the end of the day or if it's really a problem the parent should have to come to school to get the items.

The ONLY thing wrong here was the teachers deleting information off of the cell phones.

So what their apps and photos had been opened.  There's always a risk that someone somewhere will get into your phone.  If you don't want teachers going through your phone, don't bring it to school.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Dec. 3, 2013 at 11:51 AM

I think they have the right to hold them until the end of the day if they are being used in class and causing a distraction, but the teachers certainly don't have a right to go through them. My kids teacher took her hand sanitizer and threw it away and that pissed me off. Does she think that shit grows on trees lol. So, keeping and tampering with a cell phone would have me livid. However, I'd never allow my kids to carry their cells around during school hours. They know they are to keep them in their lockers until after school. There's nothing going on during school hours that they need their phones for.

amber3902
by Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 11:52 AM

I completely agree! 

Quoting Anonymous: Yes, if schools have rules and they are broken hell yes. Our schools take them for good if a 3rd violation.
Kids should leave them in their locker if they are only to be used before or after school and at lunch.
The hat wearer should have just been suspended and be done with it. No confrontation. One chance to remove it or be suspended. Why do kids think rules do not apply to them?? Maybe because parents teach them to not respect authority.


amber3902
by Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Most school's dress codes do not allow kids to wear hats of any kind while in school.

Quoting BL2010:

Nope. They have no right doing any of what they did. What was wrong with the had the original kid was wearing that they wanted it removed?


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