A school district violated an eighth-grade girl’s civil rights and its own policies when it seized a cell phone from her, searched it, and punished her after finding “inappropriate” pictures on it, the girl and her mom say. The mother says the cell phone was hers, and the school had no right to search it.
The federal complaint does not specify the nature of the “inappropriate” pictures, nor how they got into the cell phone. But the mom, Jennifer Mendoza, says Klein Independent School District officials violated their own policies by searching the contents of the phone, and putting her daughter into an alternative learning program which will set back her studies.
The complaint states: “According to the Klein ISD’s cellular phone policy, ‘If a student is using any cell phone or pager during the school day, or on a school bus to and from school, the school employee observing the student’s use of the device will confiscate it. The school employee is to turn over the device to his or her administrator/supervisor. The parent will be notified by the administrator to pick up the device at his/her during school hours after the payment of a $15 administration fee.”