Teachers reading texts on students' phones

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by mikes63737, May 3, 2008.

  1. mikes63737 macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Yesterday, one of my friends got her phone confiscated during lunch because she was texting. It's against school rules, and she knows that it gets taken away and that she gets a detention. However, the teacher that took it away was looking through her texts. Are they legally allowed to do that? It's not like they caught her texting during a test or anything.
     
  2. Hummer macrumors 65816

    Hummer

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    #2
    Okay legally if your friend willingly handed it over when the teacher asked for it then yes its legal for the teacher to read through the messages. If the teacher snatched it then that counts as stealing no matter what the school policy is as school policy doesn't override basic laws and teachers don't add up to be an authoritative figure such as a cop.

    But then again the rules of the school could get technical in its wording. If the school says that specifically that if any cellular devices are caught in the open they have the right to take them, but does not state what they do with them then sure they can legally do whatever they want with the phone.

    I don't know how far a policy goes in terms of basic laws.

    I know most facilities (non-schools) ask you to leave the premises if you are carrying something prohibited.
     
  3. TimJim macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Its not illegal but there a big arguments going on debating whether or not it should be made illegal as an invasion of privacy. Its just wrong though for a teacher to read personal information.
     
  4. mikes63737 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #4
    I don't know if you could call handing it over "willingly" here. In my school, if the teacher asks you to hand it over and you don't, you get it confiscated and then the detention is upped to a suspension. So I don't really think it's exactly willingly because they're using a greater punishment as force.
     
  5. Gray-Wolf macrumors 68030

    Gray-Wolf

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    #5
    In light of what's happening in schools these days, student/teacher relations, or the other item, shootings, I say the teacher was right to read the messages. Someone once said, if you don't want it heard, don't say it. That should go for testing too. ;)
     
  6. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #6
    Actually, on a school campus teachers and adminstrators do have more authority than cops. For example, teachers have the legal authority to search a student's car or backpack but police generally stay away from such situations unless they have a search warrant.

    It's also not true that it would be considered stealing; teachers have the right to seize any device that interferes with the best interests of students. Plus, the teacher has the right to read the student's cell phone if he/she feels it could contain vital information related to the safety of their students.
     
  7. Hummer macrumors 65816

    Hummer

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    #7
    You could call it willingly if the individual places the device in the teacher's hand on request. If the individual refuses and then promptly leaves the premises then that individual is no longer under the rules or policy of the establishment.

    Now if your school has a handbook like mine which we must agree to prior to each school year then it would be totally legal for the teacher to take it away if left unattended in the open. But if I were to say decline a teacher's request and then leave there is nothing the school could do besides kick me out.

    That has to be state law or school policy that was agreed upon between the institution and the student before enrollment. I haven't heard of that here.
     
  8. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #8
    It used to be called "passing notes", and not only did the teacher read them, if it was juicy enough, the entire class would hear them.

    Somehow, we all survived that particular "invasion of privacy." Less emphasis on perceived rights and a little more on responsibilities would go a long way.
     
  9. friekunater macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Wirelessly posted (iPod touch: Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A102 Safari/419.3)

    The teacher has the right to take or do anything to or from anyone if they feel it is disrupting the opportunity for other students to get a good education. But, seeing that this was at lunch, I'm not sure how it would disrupt the learning. unless your student handbook has a strict policy that is clearly stated on this subject regarding when and where you can use cell phones and consequences that would follow and you and the teacher and administrators have signed it, I would say the teacher had no right to take the cell phone away. unless... well was the student who was being texted in class at the time? then it would interfere... if its not spelled out in the handbook, take her to court! (not really, pretty pointless and you'd lose lol)

    unless it was an iPhone... that changes everything :p


    [law student]
     
  10. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #10
    As for state versus federal law, I'm not sure, but I'm pretty certain that such a law would have to apply to almost every campus nationwide. After some quick searching, I cam across this article which details the standards for searching students at Texas schools, which closely coincides with what I was saying.
     
  11. TimJim macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    But that is only in the actual school, the text messages can be from a variety of areas like weekends and vacation and what not which the school doesn't have jurisdiction on.
     
  12. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

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    Texas, unfortunately.
    #12
    Yep, here teachers are allowed to look at anything they want to on your phone (call history, texts, pictures, etc.) and they will keep it for good if you get caught three times.
     
  13. Victor ch macrumors 6502a

    Victor ch

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    San José, Costa Rica
    #13
    Its common that teachers take away cellphones for the day in my school (happened to me once with an old Nokia brick) but they never read the messages, they usually give disciplinary slips if the situation is more complex.
    If a teacher takes away my iPhone I would turn it off without him noticing then give it to him and since is password protected he can't do sh*t.

    I actually hate the fact that teachers decide to see/read/observe anything that is 'banned'; if the teacher takes away the phone cause you texted in their class then OK, but him/her reading it I see it as an invasion to your privacy. Or you send a note (during exams is an exception) to someone they should rip it in half or fold it and not give it back but WITHOUT reading it. Just my 2¢.

    Victor
     
  14. mikes63737 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #14
    ^^On my iPhone, I have it set to lock immediately. So I would just press the button on top and they couldn't do anything.

    Someone brought up a good point. Your phone (especially an iPhone) has all of your texts in it, including stuff that you do outside of school. Can they look through all that too?
     
  15. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    #15

    My school would say yes, and I think a private school has more of a reason to care, they want people to come, so they think they should know what current students are up to. Personal, I think that would be shooting yourself in the foot, no one likes a "big brother" school.
     
  16. LeMacK macrumors newbie

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    Nov 10, 2007
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    NY
    #16
    Let this be a lesson that if you're going to break the rules, at least be smart about it: put your phone on silent, only use it when out of view, use a passcode to unlock your phone, or if it doesnt have this feature, take out the battery when it's confiscated. :cool:

    Nevertheless, anytime you're breaking a rule, you should be prepared to face the consequences. If not, don't do it. Tell your friend to learn from it, and move on. Don't make a bad situation worse. Just my 2 cents.
     
  17. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #17
    The teachers have the right to search and seize anything on school campus regardless of it's origin. Text messages would be no different.

    Anything you bring to school is fair game.
     
  18. mr.stinki macrumors 6502

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    Jan 25, 2008
    #18
    ...i once got my wii confiscated because my biology teacher thought it might have an explosive inside....

    I'm dead serious.

    We were allowed to bring stuff like that though...
     
  19. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #19
    Why would you have a Wii at school? :confused: I mean, my teacher told me I couldn't bring my 32" TV to class either....

    Anyway, if you're concerned about your privacy, use passwords or encryption. Or don't bring your phone to school. ;)
     
  20. Nabooly macrumors 6502a

    Nabooly

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    Aug 28, 2007
    #20
    At my school, it's specifically written in the handbook that if you're caught texting, the teacher has the right to take the phone and take it to the principle to read the texts. However they never actually do that. Once my freshman year though one of my friends got a text and the person who texted her got caught and their phone got taken away. The teacher took the phone and checked the messages and she also took my friends phone. But that actually rarely happens. :)
     
  21. tanktowns56 macrumors newbie

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    Middle of Nowhere
    #21
    i dont have to worry to much about that cause my school has the most lenient phone policy in about the whole nation. they dont care if you have it in the halls or lunchroom as long as you dont have it in class. if its caught out in class then they take it away till the end of the day but othrwise your free to do whatever.
     
  22. Victor ch macrumors 6502a

    Victor ch

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    San José, Costa Rica
    #22
    Thats exactly how my school works, except that if you tell the teacher that sending an sms or making a call is really important then they'll let you make such thing.

    Victor
     
  23. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #23
    Ah yeah, one of the things I definitely don't miss from high school... all those ******** restrictions. College ftw. :D
     
  24. LumbermanSVO macrumors 65816

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    Denton, TX
    #24
    I don't get it. I never did when I was in school either. Why do these kids needs phones or other electronic toys in school?

    Not only should the teacher take it away but it should be gone until the end of the school year. This was the policy at all the school I attended and it did a pretty good job of keeping these toys out. no warning, it was just gone until the end of the year. Don't like it? Don't bring it.

    I used to listen to a Discman on the walk to and from school, as soon as I was in sight of school in hid it. It went in my locker ASAP and didn't come out until after school. I knew better than to let the faculty catch me with it. Why is this so hard for kids to do these days?

    Edit: Yes, I believe the teacher should be able to read the texts. It is no different than passing a note to someone and getting caught, even if the note was written over the weekend.
     
  25. Hummer macrumors 65816

    Hummer

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    #25
    Yea zioxide,

    I find it funny how they do a lot of things in high school that they don't do in college. High school is like pre-school compared to college. Not that I use my phone in class or anything (I keep it on me because we have an issue with theft at my school and my mother likes to keep tabs on me after school), but I don't care if someone takes out their phone in class and starts to text or something. As long as they aren't a disturbance. No one should care. And distraction my ass, there are plenty of distractions in life. In college half the class is on their phone and you have to pay attention.

    I can't believe I'm still putting up with high school but I go to a school where their biggest worries are us walking around with black sneakers and not black shoes. It's not such a big deal for the seniors, but every now and then they tend to make a big deal about it.
     

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