In April, Justin briefly blogged about this article from the Washington post entitled My Students. My Cellphone. My Ordeal. I’d like to follow up by saying that more educators are contacting us with questions on what to do in cases where students have cell phones with sexually-explicit pictures of other youth on them. While the administrator in the aforementioned article probably could have done a few things differently to prevent the nightmare he experienced, I still want to encourage school personnel to hand it over to law enforcement immediately after they confiscate the incriminating cell phone and before they unwisely decide to search its contents. While school administrators need a lesser standard of proof than law enforcement to perform searches at school, I believe that they should err on the side of caution and let sworn representatives of the law identify and work with sexually-explicit pictures or videos of youth. Thankfully, the administrator was not convicted on any count, and the entire case was thrown out on the basis of a misapplication of the charges brought by the prosecutor. The entire situation, however, was premised on a lack of information, understanding, and rationality on the part of the prosecuting team – which makes me concerned about future cases across our country. If we are going to possibly implement more regulation and respond with greater formal sanctions in new technology cases, we must make sure that those in the criminal justice system with the power to drastically alter the lives of others need to intelligently interpret the Constitution, case law, and *all* the facts of a situation without allowing zeal, emotion, and sensationalism color their actions.
...identifying the causes and consequences of cyberbullying