Sorting out student mobile rights and smarts at school
October 20th, 2007

The Boulder Valley School District in Colorado and the ACLU are sorting things out in a student mobile phone confiscation incident reported in the Daily Camera. A student’s phone was taken, his text messages searched and his phone used to send messages to his friends without identifying who was sending them. These concluding lines from the article touch on big issues yet to be sorted out in schools — or do they give us a hint that kids are going to figure out it is smart not to get in trouble with cell phones at school, which would clear the way to use them in school for mobile-learning?

Reading through a student’s phone is a “huge” invasion of privacy, Anthony said, because phones now are used for more than calling. They store written notes, keep daily appointments, contain personal pictures and even act as pseudo-journals, he said.

But senior Jenna Frazier, 17, said she understands the administration’s need to keep students safe by following leads on possible criminal behavior.

“We do lose rights when we come here,” she said. “They can search our cars and our lockers, and it’s understandable to keep kids safe.”

Regardless of whether administrators have the right to read students’ text messages, senior Jessica Kiepe, 17, said she learned not to write anything incriminating on her phone.

“I don’t write or text stuff I don’t want people to see,” she said.

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