As we know, students use their smart phones and cell phones to engage in cyberbullying or other forms of teen technology misuse at school, regardless of the presence of formal policies that prohibit their display or use during some or all hours of the school day. Ask any professional at a middle or high school, and they will tell you that violations of the rules occur with regularity. Additionally, the issue is highly-charged and complicated, based on the numerous comments on our blog about cell phone search and seizure at school. Unfortunately, it seems to me that the vast majority of those involved (school personnel and students) still don’t have a meaningful idea as to their rights – and what is or should be allowed at school with regard to the confiscation of, and evidence acquisition from, these devices.
I’d like to ask our readers to skim through the comments and see what I mean. Why do you think we can’t seem to make much forward progress here? With an increasing amount of cell phone usage among our teens, and with more students owning smartphones, it is critical that we come to some sort of consensus that informs our investigation and response protocols. Justin and I are scrutinizing case law and front-line experiences across school districts in our country, writing book chapters and articles on the subject, and are personally committed to providing practical, unclouded guidance here over the next few months.