Mark McGuire reports:
The Fourth Amendment question here is not about the seizure, but the search that came afterward.
A Berne parent grew outraged after a school principal confiscated his son’s phone earlier this week after being caught texting in class. It’s not the confiscation of the 14-year-old’s iPhone 5 that caused the ire, but rather the searching of it, which revealed inappropriate photos of his 14-year-old ex-girlfriend. The principal, Brian Corey, contacted the Albany County Sheriff’s Department.
Law enforcement and legal experts agree schools have a greater right to search students and their property than do police among the general public, where the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. The question is the line where it becomes too invasive given the circumstances.
Read more on the Albany Times-Union.
Does your teen understand that their school administrator might not only confiscate, but scroll through their images and emails? I’m not saying administrators should – indeed, I think they generally shouldn’t unless there’s an imminent threat of danger to the student or others — but it could happen. And as in this case, inappropriate images could result in the police being called for child pornography.
Are you ready for that? Is your child?
Talk with your kids. Again and again and again.
But also ensure you understand your school district’s policies on this. If you’re not sure, ask under what conditions they might not only confiscate, but search your child’s mobile devices.
And then talk with your child again.