ERIC Number: EJ786359
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Still Trying to "Make the Call" on Student Cell Phones
Taylor, Kelley R.
Principal Leadership, v8 n6 p62-64 Feb 2008
In fall 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado accused Colorado school officials of committing felonies and violating students' privacy rights. The controversy stemmed from allegations that a high school assistant principal read and transcribed text messages from a cell phone that school officials had taken away from a student. In 2006, a Boston area school district proposed a policy reserving the right of school officials to look at information stored on confiscated student cell phones. Both incidents implicate myriad legal and policy concerns surrounding student cell phones in schools, including the complex question of whether school principals are--or should be--allowed to view information contained on them. The debate over whether cell phones are a necessity for students and their families or a distraction for teachers and school administrators has continued in the wake of school tragedies. Likewise, the popularity of text messaging and the dawn of phones that serve as cameras and video players has heightened school administrators concerns over students using their cell phones for improper purposes, such as cheating or inappropriately filming teachers or other students. School leaders can respond to these challenges by always acting in concert with well-established school policy. In this article, the author contends that to truly minimize legal liability and to make the right calls where student cell phones are concerned, school administrators must apply those policies in an even-handed and consistent manner and should always consult with legal counsel before taking any action that may be perceived as going beyond or stepping outside of the school's policy and procedures.
Descriptors: Privacy, Telecommunications, School Policy, Civil Rights, Student Rights, High School Students, Principals, Legal Responsibility, School Security, School Safety
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site: http://www.principals.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A