According to this article, one Texas school district is now allowing for the confiscation of cell phones from students who display or use them at school, and is considering levying a retrieval fee. I had mentioned in a comment to a previous post by Justin that other districts are definitely requiring a fee of either $15 or $25 for a confiscated cell phone to be returned to a parent of the offending student. I personally am in support of such a policy, as it affects one’s pocketbook and inconveniences the parent who has to come to school to deal with the matter. Another article from Wyoming details a new policy (which still requires final approval but is on its way) allowing a student’s cell phone to be searched. The search can occur if the phone is “suspected to have materials that pose a threat to the welfare of the school population.” Maybe this language is intentionally broad. Or, maybe the language is sufficiently narrow because such a “threat” might conjure up similar conceptions in the minds of reasonable persons. What do you think? Who will be able to articulate such a suspicion? Teachers? Administrators? Student peers? Bus drivers? Cafeteria workers? Will this lead to 4th Amendment violations of students, or is this definitely the way to go nowadays in order to prevent harm, victimization, and criminal activity among youth? Seemingly, materials on a cell phone that might pose a threat to the welfare of the school population could include evidence of textual harassment of a teacher or another student; inappropriate pictures or videos involving nudity, drugs, weapons, or other contraband; or even web history files that indicate the student was visiting a bomb-making or anti-establishment web site. Can you think of any other possibilities? Could this policy be abused and lead to more headaches for the district?
...identifying the causes and consequences of cyberbullying