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Parents Outraged Over School’s Confiscation of Student Phones

Parents of children at an Oregon middle school are outraged after finding out that school officials temporarily confiscated their children’s phones in order to delete recordings of a confrontation between a student and teacher.  The incident apparently involved a boy who refused to remove his hat, and the recordings showed two teachers circling the student and attempting to escort him from the school gym where the incident took place.   One student says that a teacher took her phone from her hand and when she later got her phone back, discovered that the video was deleted and text messages and photos were also opened.  She is but one of the many students at R.A. Brown Middle School whose phone was briefly confiscated following the incident in the gym.

Parents Say Students’ Rights Were Violated

Parents of students at the middle school are outraged, arguing that although their children are only in their pre- or early teens, they still have rights that were violated by school officials when the phones were confiscated.  School officials have declined comment, although the “search and seizure” part of the school handbook does allow for the confiscation of property deemed “dangerous and detrimental to the safety and welfare of the students and staff”.  Where school officials’ actions get murky is the fact that they destroyed “property” on the students’ phones by deleting the video.

School Psychologist Says That School Violated Students’ Rights

School psychologist Fran Walfish says that the school did, indeed, violate the students’ rights when confiscating their phones and deleting the video.  She notes that the school should ban cell phones altogether from the campus if they want to control the footage that students may obtain during the course of a school day.  Furthermore, while school officials may have been attempting to protect themselves from the law, they may have inadvertently broken the law in other ways when confiscating the phones.

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