Mar 222011
 

Matthew Heller writes:

A Texas teenager has taken a major step toward winning her privacy lawsuit against an assistant middle school principal who searched the contents of her cell phone, finding a nude photo of her.

Alexis Mendoza, then an eighth-grader at Kimmel Intermediate School in Spring, Texas, admitted sending the photo to a boy because he had sent similar photos to her. She sued the principal, assistant principal and school district in December 2009, alleging the search of her cell phone went beyond what was reasonable to determine whether she had been using it during school hours to send text messages.

Read more about this case on OnPoint. The court seemed to uphold the school’s right to search for non-content information because they had reasonable suspicion that the student used the phone during school hours on school premises, in violation of school policy. But the judge held that the right to search did not extend to the content of those messages.

If you care about student privacy and Fourth Amendment issues, this is a good case to watch, and Matthew Heller provides links to relevant court documents.

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